Kidnapped ICU VC appeals for help in new video release
Peshawar, Sep 04: The kidnapped vice-chancellor of Islamia College University (ICU) Peshawar Ajmal Khan on Thursday once again appealed to vice chancellors of the public sector universities and student organisations to pressure the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to take practical measures for his release as he was spending the worst days of his life.
In a six minutes videotape released by the Hakimullah Mahsud-led Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), vice-chancellor Ajmal Khan complained he had spent his five Eids in custody of the militants as the KP government had failed to meet demands of the people holding him hostage.
He recorded his video statement in Pashto, Urdu and English languages. It was fourth videotape which the militants released after his kidnapping from Professors' Colony in Peshawar on September 7, 2010.
The TTP had claimed responsibility for his kidnapping and made certain demands from the government for his release. Looking depressed and frail in the videotape, Ajmal Khan had been shown wearing white clothes and a white cap.
At one stage, he could not control his emotions while remembering his children and burst into tears. "I am seriously worried about my children. I have not seen them for quite a long time. I appeal the vice chancellors including Dr Ihsan Ali, Dr Qibla Ayaz, Dr Rasool Jan and students' organizations to kindly urge and pressure the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to take interest in my release. There are only few demands. If the government accepts the demands, these people would release me," the kidnapped vice-chancellor said.
Ajmal Khan, who is close relative of the Awami National Party (ANP) President Asfandyar Wali Khan, has made similar appeals in his previous videotapes to the vice-chancellors, teachers and students to put pressure on the government to take steps for his release from the captivity of Taliban.
The militants last year had set a deadline for acceptance of their demands and threatened to kill him if the government failed accepting their demands.
However, they extended the deadline for an indefinite time reportedly on the appeal of the vice-chancellor's family and some religious scholars hailing from Ajmal Khan's native Charsadda district. The government has recently given him four years extension in his service.
Meanwhile, the TTP spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan said they had released Ajmal Khan's driver recently in exchange for the release of one of their prisoners. The news
Girl students' problems at Islamia College University
Peshawar: When Sir Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Khan, renowned educationist, politician and founder of the historic Islamia College Peshawar [now university], launched campaign for collecting contribution for founding the first ever quality education institution in the erstwhile Frontier Province in 1911, Bibi Gul a widow of Khairullah Khan of district Charsadda set a unique example by donating all her personal belongings including jwellery and gold ornaments. Inspired by Bibi Gul's generosity, hundreds of frontier women followed in her footprints and contributed everything they had in their possession.
She might be mindful of the challenges and hardships that women had been passing through down the ages in a typical Pashtun society. Perhaps she thought that by sacrificing her jwellery Pashtun women might be decorated with precious ornament of education.
But unfortunately, till 2009 they were denied the right to get education in this grand centre of excellent academia. Despite lapse of more than four years, female students still stand deprived of many basic facilities including hostel, sports and admission on special quota facilities and are faced with other numerous problems.
Presently, there are more than 600 girls from intermediate to master and doctorate level classes. A private building comprising 112 rooms has been hired in Danishabad Akbar Town, located at a walking distance opposite to the main gate of Islamia College University (ICU) where accommodation for only 450 girls is available. Girls demand accommodation in one of the 11 hostels for boys inside the campus as they feel insecure, threatened and also the rented building basically designed for a shopping plaza does not provide them with a study-friendly environment. Eve-teasing is yet another problem which they confront almost everyday while coming and going to their hostel and college.
"We are being stuffed in one room like commodities. A dingy narrow alley leads to our hostel. Passing through it is a great problem for us as eve-teasers and hooligans snatch our purses and sometimes assail us. Due to different social taboos girls keep mum over such ugly incidents. Even if they complain the authorities concerned turn deaf ears. My parents are worried about my safety and education but what can I do, I don't have any other alternative," an aggrieved BS student from North Waziristan Rabia Gul Wazir told this reporter.
Senior warden Miss Rafia of the girl's hostel when contacted said that students were faced with problem of insecurity, embarrassment and harassment at the hands of hooligans adding that if they get shifted to the ICU campus they would be relieved of many difficulties.
Most female students residing in the hostel complained that unavailability of quality food, proper security and indoor games facilities were hampering their studies. Many of them were of the view that if girl students were accommodated in a hostel inside the Islamia College University campus more than half of their problems would be resolved.
The Deputy Provost Syed Kamal in his remarks said that sufficient security arrangements along with transport facility for girl's hostels had been made and complaints received regarding eve-teasing were properly followed up.
"Girl's accommodation is really big issue. In 11 hostels on ICU campus there is capacity for 1360 male students with an average accommodation of 120 boys each hostel can provide; about 400 boys are still residing in a rented building outside the campus. If we accommodate girls inside the campus, they will not get away with the problems as most hostels don't have safety walls and meant for students of various classes. Secondly three to four hostels would be required which in present situation seems to be impossible. "
He said that ICU had sufficient land and separate hostel was quite a feasible option and the report in this regard had been submitted to KP governor, CM, the HEC chairman and federal government. He said: "Sometimes differences occurred with the contractor of the hostel on various issues but we try our best to keep a vigilant eye on girl's problems including quality food, study and their proper security," Mr. Kamal stated
"Accommodation for 450 girls is available in the rented hostel where each room can house four students while there are 415 students at present. Sometimes more than four students are accommodated on the request of the inmates as they forced the warden to let their relative student(s) or class fellow(s) live with them. But as a principle we don't stuff them," Mr. Kamal explained.
Female students are discouraged to participate in drama and sports activities on the campus. A source told this reporter that a few months ago three girls who were supposed to act in a Shakespearean drama were barred and threatened with serious consequences during rehearsal for the stage presentation, and the project was finally dropped due to pressure from certain quarters of rigid Islamic thought.
Prof Abaseen Yousafzai, in-charge Students Clubs and Societies, clarified that girl students participated in inside campus activities and two students societies were led by female Presidents. "There is no restriction on female students; they can participate in sports, literary and cultural activities," Mr Yousafzai said.
The first ever female Vice Chancellor of ICU Prof Dr Noor Jehan said that: "We are going to arrange accommodation for girl students and in this regard we will get vacated the residences given on rent to private people, adjacent to the ICU boundary wall towards its west. They shall remain there till establishment of girl's hostel on the ICU campus."
She said a separate playing ground had been allocated for girls and a vacancy for a female coach was being created to train them while the administration has planned different sports and cultural activities focusing on highlighting rights and other issues related to women. Ms Jehan regretted that when the historic college was given the status of a charted university then the authorities should have kept in mind the necessary infrastructure.
She said ICU will be celebrating its Platinum Jubilee in 2013 and girl students will be given opportunity to fully participate in all kinds of activities on the occasion within the frame of the social norms and values. Dawn
Portuguese Language course
Islamabad: The Embassy of Brazil in Islamabad will offer a course of Portuguese language from the second week of September 2012.
The classes will take place at the embassy and will be free of cost, starting right after the country's national day celebrations. People of all ages are eligible to attend the three month long course to become Portuguese speakers.
The course is designed to have two different levels of Portuguese - a beginners level as well as an advanced level. Classes will take place at the embassy from 5-6 p.m.
To become a part of this free language proficiency course, interested students can fill out a form available on the official website of the Embassy of Brazil http://www.embassyofbrazil.com.pk/.
For information, prospective students may also contact email@example.com.
For further information on this topic, Gustavo Carneiro, (Second Secretary), Head of the Educational Section Mrs. Helena Lobato da Jornada (Third Secretary), Head of the Press Section could be contacted at House No 1, Street No 72, F-8/3, Islamabad, Tel: 051-2287189, Fax: 051-2287199. The news