Govt mopping up politics from campuses: Maqbool
* Governor hosts Iftar dinner for teachers and students
By Waqar Gillani
LAHORE: The government is determined to root out political organisations from universities, Punjab Governor Lt Gen (r) Khalid Maqbool, also chancellor of all public universities in Punjab, told Daily Times on Tuesday after an Iftar dinner arranged for a large number students and teachers from various universities in Lahore.
Mr Maqbool talked about the recent death of an innocent final year MA Political Science student at Murray College, Sialkot. The student died when a political group, allegedly the Muslim Students Federation (MSF), opened indiscriminate fire. He also talked about the recent incident at Punjab University, where students allegedly backed by the Islami Jamiat Talaba and Dr Niaz Ahmed, the PU student affairs director, attacked PU Social Work Department (SWD) students and assaulted its faculty.
Asked about the PU chancellor office’s inquiry into the incident, Mr Maqbool said that the PU disciplinary committee had taken up the issue and expected that the committee would soon resolve the issue without any bias.
Earlier, the governor, accompanied by Mian Imran Masood, the Punjab education minister, and invited vice chancellors from various universities, addressed a large gathering of students and spoke about these disturbing incidents. Mr Maqbool emphasised the need to root out ‘jamaats’ or political organisations from universities.
He said that 20 years ago the prime minister of Pakistan was unable to enter the campus of one of the largest universities of the country, however retired military officials had changed the situation, which was improving gradually. “Normally, political organisations do not control admissions or occupy hostel allotments, but I admit that such things have been going on in certain campuses,” he said. It was the retired military officials’ administration that was able to help root out such elements, he said.
The governor also addressed various education related issues and said that the Punjab government and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) fully supported quality education. “HEC supports campuses’ computerisation. It is providing various universities with electronic equipment and is offering indigenous PhD scholarships and research programmes,” he said, adding, “We are also helping universities develop ties with the industry to ensure jobs for graduating students.” He said that the universities should improve their social departments by carrying out effective researches.
Mr Maqbool said that the HEC was striving for the international recognition of Pakistani universities and was standardising a four-year uniform programme for bachelors with honours at the universities. “This is a politically thorny step,” he said.
Commenting on the performance of various universities, the governor admitted that the University of Education (UoE) was facing certain problems and it did not have a campus. The government will support the UoE to resolve all its problems, he said.
The students and teachers raised concerns about poor quality of education, demanded better facilities and lesser fees, and the government’s assistance in research and scholarships for masters aboard.
The governor asked universities to generate their own resources by introducing evening postgraduate and other diplomas. The Punjab education minister said that the government would soon start computer classes at 5,000 primary and secondary schools in the province.
Dr Mahmood Ahmad Chaudhry, the chairman of the board of governors of the University of Health Sciences (UHS), and the Punjab Education Department special secretary, Nazir Saeed, were present. The vice chancellors of the Punjab University, the University of Engineering Technology (UET), Government College University (GCU), Lahore College for Women University (LCWU), University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS), UoE, and UHS, along with senior faculty members and selected university students attended the dinner. Later, the governor also distributed gifts, such as dictionaries and other educational material, amongst the students.