PU Institute of Plant Pathology unique protest

Students block British MP's convoy
Lahore, Oct 30: Students of the Punjab University's Institute of Plant Pathology (IPP) staged a unique protest on Friday, as they blocked the convoy of British parliamentarian Lord Nazir Ahmad by lying on the road on the New Campus.

The students also staged a protest inside the Faisal Auditorium where Lord Nazir spoke to a gathering of university teachers and students. The students protested against the credibility of the degree issued by the institute, saying various government organisations, including the Punjab Public Service Commission, did not recognise the degree.

The students raised slogans against the university administration and demanded that their demands should be met for which they were protesting for the last many months. University security guards failed to control the students and later baton-charged them. They pushed journalists covering the event and the chief security officer allegedly misbehaved with journalists.

PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran assured the students that their demands had been acknowledged and steps had been taken to facilitate all of them. The VC assured the journalists that action would be taken if the chief security officer was found guilty of misbehaving with journalists.

PU Resident Officer-I Javed Sami, who is also general secretary of PU Academic Staff Association, is responsible for maintaining peace on the campus. However, every time such a situation emerges, the varsity administration uses his political status. This time again, the university spokesman sent a news release, stating that PUASA general secretary Javed Sami condemned IPP students` act.

Sami said such misconduct by students would not be tolerated in future. He said all IPP students` grievances had been addressed and now a bunch of outsiders and expelled students were spoiling peaceful academic atmosphere of the university.

PUASA president Prof Dr Mahr Saeed Akhtar, however, declined to comment.

PU Registrar Prof Dr Muhammad Akhtar said a notification for appointment of agriculture teachers in the IPP had been issued and the newly appointed faculty would start taking classes from Monday. He said students should be ashamed of their act at a time when a dignitary had been invited to address teachers and students.

LECTURE: Delivering his special lecture, Lord Nazir Ahmad stressed the need for chalking out a long-term plan for socio-economic development of Pakistan.

He said Pakistan had a great potential and Pakistanis were excelling wherever they were going across the world. He stressed that Pakistanis needed to maintain a balance between their rights and obligations if they wanted to change the destiny of the country. He said the government should impose a fair tax on the super rich elite and make them pay Zakat regularly for the sake of the toiling masses.

He regretted that rulers in Pakistan were not paying taxes and they were amassing ill-gotten wealth in foreign banks. In such a situation, he said, how could the West trust Pakistan`s appeals that the country was in dire need of foreign assistance. He suggested the government should forcibly takeover assets of the wealthy persons who did not make an honest declaration of their assets and distribute these assets to the deserving people.

Stating that the federal interior minister had signed an agreement with the British home secretary for exchange of prisoners and illegal immigrants, he suggested the government should have entered into bilateral agreements for investment to provide much needed relief to people.

Condemning Pakistani border`s violations by Nato forces, Lord Nazir said the government should tell the Americans clearly that it would not tolerate any attack on its boarders in future. He said young people were the future leaders and architects of the nation therefore they should cultivate the habit of honesty and hard work.He said a recent report placed the Pakistani women at the bottom of the list of successful women. He stressed that women should be included in the decision-making process in all sectors so that they could make their contribution to the national progress.

Prof Kamran also spoke.

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PU staff demo for allowance
Lahore: A large number of lower scale employees of the Punjab University (PU) held a protest demo on Friday against non-payment of recently increased medical allowance. The protest was organised by the PU Administrative and Technical Staff Association in which employees also chanted slogans against varsity administration. They also threatened to boycott duties till acceptance of their said demand. They said the PU high officials had ignored the lower scale employees while they themselves were enjoying every kind of facility at the varsity. A large number of students, submitting forms for BA/ BSc exams, also suffered a lot owing to the protest. The news

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Fate of 450 FG teachers hangs in balance
Lahore: The fate of more than 450 Trained Graduate Teachers (TGT), including 225 female teachers, working on contract basis in schools, running under the Federal Educational Institutions Directorate for more than three years, continues to hang in the balance.

These 450 TGT teachers were recruited in August 2007 through the Federal Public Service Commission on a two-year contract basis with the assurance that they will be regularized at the end of the contract period. But, instead of their regularization in August 2009, their contract was extended by one year, up to August 2010. Now the teachers were expecting that in August 2010 they would be awarded permanent status in their present teaching posts.

But in July this year, someone in the FEI Directorate decided to terminate the services of these 450 fully qualified and experienced teachers without any regard for the consequences of the decision. The problem was highlighted in the media as well as brought to the notice of the higher authorities. Appeals were also made to the President and the Prime Minister against this gross injustice. Consequently, a notification was issued extending their services for another six months on ad hoc basis.

The affected teachers have said that the temporary palliative of 6 months' extension does not solve their problem because they were expecting regularization of their job after working on contract basis for three years. They added that 6 months' extension in service was going to end in January 2011 and after that the teachers will again be on the streets unless their service is regularized.

It may be noted that these teachers having MA., MEd degrees have been performing their duties quite satisfactorily in their respective schools for the last three years but for some unknown bureaucratic reason, the authorities concerned are not granting them permanent status, showing utter disregard for trained skilled manpower in which the country is generally lacking.

According to sources, a large number of posts of teachers are lying vacant in FG schools but mysteriously the available pool of trained TGT teachers is not being utilized to fill these vacant posts.

As the 6 months' extension period is almost half over the 450 hapless teachers, more than half of them female, are in a state of agitation. One of the affected teachers talking to this scribe said, "This is sheer injustice against the poor teachers and a violation of our fundamental right to work. We have been doing our jobs quite satisfactorily. We had hoped that after three years our service will be made permanent but the Federal Directorate is unduly delaying our case".

Another TGT teacher pointed out that in Punjab, all contract teachers have been regularized while many federal government departments have given permanent status to their contract employees.

Some vocal teachers, expressing their anger and bitterness over the arbitrary decision of FEI Directorate to give them only 6 months' extension, said that they would hold street demonstrations to draw the attention of the President and the Prime Minister to their plight and continue agitating until justice is done to them. The nation

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Beaconhouse to hold int'l conference on education
Lahore: A group of international scholars and educationists will converge in the city in one of the largest education conferences the country has ever hosted, 'School of Tomorrow: Freedom to Learn' organised by the Beaconhouse Group on November 5 and 6. Richard Gerver, described as "one of the most inspirational leaders of his generations" is slated to be the keynote speaker at the conference. Other experts in the field of educational leadership and management, including Saeeda Shah and Anthony Townsend, will lead the discussions on the link between leadership and school effectiveness, according to a press release. Daily times

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