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Sindh Madressatul Islam University and the Balochistan University of Engineering and Technology Khuzdar on Thursday inked a memorandum of understanding to strengthen the relationship between both universities.

The SMIU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Mujeebuddin Sahrai Memon and BUET Khuzdar VC Dr. Ehsan Ullah Khan Kakar signed the documents of the MoU during the later’s visit to SMIU.

Dr Kakar visited various parts of the varsity and was inspired by the architecture, educational environment and dedicated faculty members of the SMIU. He said that he felt hanoured to see the historical institution of Pakistan that had played a pivotal role in the history of the country in particular and the region in general.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by SMIU’s deans, including Dr Zahid Ali Channar, Dr Syed Asif Ali, Dr Jamshed Adil, Dr Aftab Ahmed and Registrar Ghulam Mustafa Shaikh. Hamid Tariq and Mr. Aslam Zaib from BUET Khuzdara were also present during the ceremony.

According to the MoU, both the institutions will jointly collaborate in educational, training and research activities and will make suitable arrangements for the trainings of students and faculty members.

The 63rd meeting of the Syndicate of the University of Education approved its annual budget worth Rs. 2980.284 million for the financial year 2021-22. 737,255 of the budget has been allocated for development and 2,243,029 for non-development budget.

The Syndicate also approved the establishment of three new departments, Department of Sports Sciences and Physical Education, Department of Educational Psychology and the Department of Educational Assessment and Evaluation. It also approved the reactivation of the Division of Management and Administrative Sciences and the Division of Arts and Social Sciences. During the meeting, approval was given to start 11 new PhD programs and 29 M.Phil. Programs. It was also agreed to start MBA in Vehari, Faisalabad, Jauharabad, Multan and Lower Mall campuses of the university.

During its meeting, Syndicate also approved the “English works” program in collaboration with the US Embassy, ​​under which 100 students between the ages of 17 and 25 will be taught English and other soft skills. The special feature of the program is that it will be completely free of cost. Each student will be provided with a tab and internet facility free of cost.

Vice Chancellor Dr. Talat Naseer Pasha (S.I.) told the members of the syndicate on the occasion that the main objective of the program was to reach out to the youth of backward areas. We have to provide equal opportunities to the poor youth so that they too can become honourable citizens of the society and play their role to serve their beloved homeland.

Mushaal Hussein Mullick, the Chairperson of Peace and Culture Organisation and wife of jailed Kashmiri Hurriyat leader Muhammad Yasin Malik, has said that India is conspiring to demolish 500 mosques in the occupied Kashmir.

“These mosques have already been demarcated and there are plans to construct temples on the land of these mosques for the Hindus settlement in Jammu Kashmir,” said Mushaal Hussein Mullick while addressing a seminar at the Government College University Lahore.

The seminar was organised by the University’s Kashmir Society (GCU-KS) to commemorate the Kashmir Martyrs’ Day, and pay tribute to the martyrs of July 13, 1931, and all other Kashmiri martyrs.

GCU Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr Asghar Zaidi chaired the seminar which was also addressed by Muhammad Zulqarnain Chheena, a career diplomat and former first secretary of Pakistan Mission to United Nations, and Rehana Hussein Mullick, Ex-MNA, who is also the mother of Mushaal Mullick.

Speaking on the occasion, VC Prof. Zaidi said that GCU is going to host the country’s biggest Students’ Societies’ Summit next month and the Kashmir issue would be the focus of its deliberations. He laid stress on fighting the Kashmir issue with lawyers at the international forums vigorously. He believed that time is not far away when Kashmiris would get their right of self-determination.

The Vice-Chancellor also referred to the opening of the Allama Iqbal Law School at GCU. He also mentioned that this year two students with hearing disabilities joined the University, and they are also participating in this seminar. He explained that the University hired a special sign instructor for them who is also accompanying them at the seminar.

Zulqarnain Chheena said Jammu & Kashmir is not a part of India, it never was and it never will be. He said India has no legitimate claim over the occupied valley and is just a military occupier. He said universities should publish comprehensive literature for youth on the Kashmir issue. He also laid stress on promoting the culture of Kashmir.

Later, Mushaal Hussein Mullick said Narendra Modi is Hitler of this century, and he had unleashed a new wave of barbarism and terrorism to silence the voices of freedom fighters.

She said that India was changing the demography of the occupied territory illegally by bringing Hindu settlers to the occupied territory. She added that the proportion of the population was being changed in sheer violation of international law and the UN resolutions but the world community was looking at the situation like a silent spectator.

Mushaal expressed gratitude to Prof. Zaidi for establishing a very active and vibrant Kashmiri Society in GCU, saying that Society has become a voice of Kashmiris at the national and international level in a very short time. She said this Society is a role model for other universities as well.

Raziyah Sultana, a nine-year-old daughter of Kashmiri freedom fighter Yasin Malik, also read a poem she wrote for her father who is in Death Cell by Occupational Indian Forces.

Chairman International Kashmir Rights Commission of Pakistan Rai Muhammad Nawaz Kharl and academician Prof Zafar Iqbal Sindhu also addressed the seminar.

LAHORE: Indonesia’s Ambassador Mr Adam Mulawarman Tugio on Tuesday visited Punjab University and called on Punjab University Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Saleem Mazhar at Vice Chancellor’s office here on Tuesday. Deans of various faculties and Director Regional Integration Centre Dr Fauzia Hadi Ali were present on the occasion.

Talking to the delegation, Pro Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Saleem Mazhar said that PU was establishing linkages with eminent universities across the world.He stressed the need to enhance collaboration among the universities of both the countries. Addressing the meeting, Mr Tugio said that he had received a lot of love from the people of Pakistan. He said that PU was a beacon of knowledge and he had great inspirations from the great academic institution of the sub continent. He stressed the need to strengthen relations among ASEAN countries in order to improve the economic situation of the member states.

He said that through trade agreements, the exports and imports of the ASEAN countries could be enhanced manifold, which could ultimately result in improving the life standard of the people. He stressed the need to establish ASEAN Study Centre. He said that there were many similarities between the cultures of Pakistan and Indonesia. He said that Pakistan’s famous food items including Biryani and Chicken Karahi were also very popular in Indonesia and Indonesian loved to eat them.

Later, PU Pro VC Prof Dr Saleem Mazhar and Tugio exchanged souvenirs. The ambassador also visited PU College of Art and Design where College Principal Prof Dr Sumera Jawad welcomed. The delegates visited various parts of the college and art exhibitions.

The current management of the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology has agreed to convene a meeting of the varsity’s senate soon after the Eid holidays.

The meeting would decide to finalize three proposed names for the appointment of a regular Vice Chancellor.

The Fuuast spokesperson has said that the present administration was engaged in holding selection boards of 2013 and 2017. These boards had been pending for the past eight years. This is why the senate meeting was delayed for a short span of time. However, some elements don’t miss any opportunity to discredit the institution. They have been issuing wrong and misleading information to the media against Fuuast.

He said that orders have been issued by the Deputy Chair to convene a meeting of the senate and three names for the post of Vice-Chancellor will be proposed to the Chancellor in this meeting.

Two inquiry bodies investigating the Chinese student’s sexual harassment case at the Malakand University, involving the 40-year-old, Prof Dr Qaisar Khan, have submitted their reports. However, neither the accused has been granted a sentence nor any serious administrative lapses are mentioned by the inquiry teams.

The first inquiry was conducted by the faculty members of the varsity while the second probe was ordered by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor, Shah Farman, having succumbed to pressures from various quarters after the media splashed the sexual harassment charges.

University Harassment Committee’s probe

The Chinese student named Zhou Min filed a sexual harassment complaint against Dr Qaisar Khan on February 17, 2020 via email to Malakand University Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Gul Zaman, Dean Faculty of Arts and Humanities Prof Dr Atta Ur Rahman and then Registrar Prof Dr Shafiq Ur Rahman.

The Vice-Chancellor believed to be a close friend of accused Prof Dr Qaisar Khan constituted a five-member University Harassment Committee headed by Prof Dr Rashid Ahmad of the Department of Chemistry with its four other members including Prof Dr Atta Ur Rahman, Mr Imran Khan (Lecturer at the Department of Law), Dr Rukhsana Ghaffar (Assistant Professor at the Department of Pharmacy) and Dr Zainab Qazi (Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychology).

The University Harassment Committee, believed to be a credible one, contacted the accused Dr Qaisar Khan, the Chinese student (via her email address) and other offices at the campus including Admission, Registrar and Deputy Director Finance offices. Firstly, the inquiry body tried confirming if the Chinese national was enrolled as a student at the varsity. They sent a letter to the Admission Office, which replied that it had got no admission record of any such student.

On the other hand, the then registrar Prof Dr Shafiq did not respond to the inquiry team’s letter while the Deputy Director Finance submitted a reply to the committee stating “an amount of Rs. 33000/- has been paid to the complainant on account of daily wages salary as Laboratory Attendant at the University Public School and College (UPS) from November 1 to December 14, 2019.”

A Twist to the Harassment Case

The Chinese national, Zhou Min, was neither enrolled as a student nor had any record of being employed at the campus. Hence, Deputy Director Finance’s statement regarding her salary gave a twist to the sexual harassment case, leading the inquirers to establish contacts with the accused and complainant.

Although, the accused made his presence in person before the inquiry committee apart from answering a questionnaire provided to him, the complainant was sent an email requesting her to appear before the body through video conferencing. The accused Dr Qaisar Khan who is the Head of the Department of English, confessed in his interview with the University Harassment Committee that Zhou Min was offered admission in MPhil but her NOC was not processed due to admission requirements.

Dr Qaiser’s Confessions

Accused Dr Qaisar Khan also confessed to taking the complainant to Chakdara Bazar, Thana and Qambar (Swat) “without any intimation to the Hostel Authorities.”

The complainant, on the other hand, did not appear in person via video conferencing but she submitted her reply to the inquiry body through an email, stating:

“As I heard the children are suffering from their father’s case, I am here to forgive their father Qaisar Khan sympathetically for the sake of Allah. Though I have been suffering, I hope the University will just keep him as a common teacher so that he can feed his children. The case is a warning to him so that he should respect female students sincerely as a teacher.”

Administrative lapses unearthed

Alluding to administrative lapses, the committee questioned the foreign national stay in the varsity premises as a student without being formally-admitted. The committee concluded its proceedings stating, “the accused has shown irresponsible behaviour/attitude and disregarded his responsible position of Professor, Chairman of the Department of English and Controller of Examination.”

Also, the University Harassment Committee recommended the Competent Authority to impose any of the following penalties against accused Dr Qaisar Khan:

a) withholding, for a specific time, promotion or increment,
b) reduction to a lower post or time-scale, or to a lower stage in a time-scale,
c) compulsory retirement.

Faculty members speak up

“The recommendations came as a breath of fresh air,” said a source among the faculty members, arguing that it was a lesson for all predators among teachers. However, the same source lamented the fact that the powers that be at the university sided with the accused Dr Qaisar Khan and worked tirelessly to save him.

“The Vice-Chancellor Dr Gul Zaman sided with the harasser when the report of the University Harassment Committee was presented to the syndicate meeting, which neither gave any solid decision on serious administrative lapses in the admission of the complainant nor did it give a decision against Dr Qaisar Khan, in the light of the recommendations given by the probe body,” said the same faculty members requesting anonymity.

“The irony is that instead of adopting recommendations of the University Harassment Committee in letter and spirit, and holding the administration to account for serious administrative lapses, the syndicate working under the incumbent Vice-Chancellor’s thump unnecessarily questioned not only the laid down procedures adopted by the committee to investigate the case paving way for Dr Qaisar to avoid any punishment but also ignored issues of serious administrative lapses due to which the complainant enjoyed various perks,” claimed the source.

Syndicate member’s dissent

On the other hand, one syndicate member while disagreeing with the decision of the forum “which neither declared the accused innocent nor agreed to the recommendation of the University Harassment Committee” dissented to the syndicate decision. The dissent note questioning why the accused Dr Qaisar Khan was spared punishment, stated that the University Harassment Committee, as per Section 4 (c) of the Harassment Act, had examined many documentary pieces of evidence it considered necessary.

“The syndicate did not agree to the recommendations of the committee,” stated the dissent note, adding that “….section 5 of the Harassment Act instructs that the Competent Authority shall impose the penalty recommended by the inquiry committee. Thus syndicate violated the act.” The other important point of the dissent note is that the complainant has forgiven the accused but she has not withdrawn her allegations.

Sexual harassment saga continues

The sexual harassment saga did not stop here, with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor also ordering a probe into the case involving the Chinese national and the English Professor. This time the governor appointed Vice-Chancellor of Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan, namely Prof Dr Zahur Ul Haq, as inquiry officer to probe into the sexual harassment case. Raising serious questions over internal governance at the varsity, the second inquiry—report stated: “If the complainant was neither registered and nor enrolled, then what was she doing at the Department of English, University of Malakand? Hence, the matter pertaining to the internal governance of the university needs to be reported to the syndicate for appropriate decision/action.”

No action taken

One of the recommendations given by the Governor Inspection Team probing the case was that the accused Dr Qaisar should be put under strict watch of a senior faculty member of the Department of English, for at least a year. However, once again, no action was taken. The syndicate meeting neither acknowledged the internal governance issues at the varsity nor acted upon the recommendations of the governor-appointed inquiry officer Prof Zahur Ul Haq.

It has never been easy to glean information about cases like sexual harassment from university officials considering the secrecy being perpetuated by the Rooster Coop led by VC Dr Gul Zaman but when this scribe contacted Malakand University Teachers Association (MUTA) focal person, Dr Sami Ur Rahman, he stated that Prof Dr Qaisar was protected twice by the VC in the Syndicate meetings which, he claimed, not only failed to give any solid punishment to the accused but also ignored the internal governance issues at the varsity, mentioned by both inquiries.

The Board of Secondary Education Karachi on Monday announced the schedule for the Secondary School Certificate Annual Practical Examinations 2021 of science and general groups.

According to the BSEK controller examinations Syed Mohammad Ali Shaiq the practical examinations would be conducted from July 27 to August 7, 2021. As per the schedule given to the schools affiliated to the board, the original award list and other materials must be submitted to the practical section of the board.

From July 13, the practical equipment can be obtained from the examination store of the board office from 9:30 am to 4 pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm.

The board would provide lab equipment on July 14 to the schools located in Gulberg, Liaquatabad.

From July 16 to July 18, the schools located in Jamshed Town and Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Shah Faisal, Landhi, Malir, Bin Qasim. Korangi, Saddar, Lyari, Keamari, Baldia, Gadap and Orangi can get lab equipment from the board for practical exams.

Shaiq said that the heads of schools or their representatives by showing their identity cards, office cards and authority letters can get tools for practical examination on the dates given by the BSEK.

The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association on Saturday held an online meeting of the executive committee discussing the legitimate issues of the faculty members employed at public sector varsities across the country.

Dr. Nek Muhammad Shaikh, central present FAPUAS chaired the meeting and General Secretary Dr. Shahid Iqbal presented the issues. In the meeting, it was unanimously agreed that HEC should include FAPUASA in all meetings, decisions, policymaking, and rules formulation related to the Higher Education Institutions.

An email has been sent to HEC executive director to include all the stakeholders in HES’s meetings including the upcoming pay and pension committee meeting to be held on July 15. The HEC letter to extend the relaxation in the post-PhD experience was rejected. This letter is against the spirit of the decision taken in the meeting on June 15.

The HEC had agreed to decide until September 2021 and failing to do so shall result in the post-PhD experience remaining waived off. However, the HEC has twisted the issue. The FAPUASA urged the HEC to opt the time-scale promotion for BPS faculty members as the universities are awarding time-scale promotions to their non-teaching staff. This dual policy against the BPS faculty member was rejected.

When a TTS faculty member is promoted to the associate or professor level the vacant associate or professor posts are considered filled by the HEC and the university administration. This blocks the future of BPS faculty members. The FAPUASA urged that TTS and BPS are two different paths. Therefore, BPS positions must not be considered filled due to TTS promotions. Formulation of BPS Service Structure is the only sustainable solution to these problems. The house unanimously rejected the HJRS system introduced by the HEC.

The association demands the HEC to write to the respective provincial finance ministries for 25% increment in salaries, as per announcement of the government in March 2021. Similarly, the technical allowance (1.5 times of basic pay) should be approved for all the engineering universities as all engineers and other departments have been allowed this allowance. The TTS salaries are stagnant since 2015 and 50% increase in the TTS salaries was recommended. The proposed revised salary and increment structure for TTS was unanimously rejected.

It was suggested that the TTS salaries should be linked to the federal budget to avoid such problems in future. FAPUASA strongly urged that both BPS and TTS faculty members should participate in all its meetings. Soon one representative from BPS and TTS faculty members will be included in the executives from the respective chapters.

These members will work on the problems of their respective faculty members and present these in FAPUASA meeting. The house also agreed on arranging such meetings regularly so that problems of the faculty can be addressed in a better manner. It was strongly urged that regular input from both BPS and TTS faculty members will help FAPUASA to fight for the legitimate rights of the faculty at every forum. FAPUASA owns the entire faculty of the HEIs in the country and shall continue to lead the struggle for the rights of the faculty without any discrimination.

A memorandum of understanding has been signed between University of Education, Lahore and “She Means Work”, a project and copyright of “Learning-Based Strategies Pvt LTD (LBS) to extend cooperation for the promotion of activities of mutual interest.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Vice Chancellor, University of Education, Prof. Dr. Talat Naseer Pasha (S.I.) and Chief Executive Officer Lubna Bhayat on the behalf of their respective organizations. The purpose of MoU is to establish a long term sustainable and mutually beneficial cooperation in areas of bilateral interest for promoting research, industrial linkages, training, education and employment opportunities between LBS and UE.

The areas of mutual interest and concern will include collaboration in academia linkages and economic diplomacy, collaboration research projects between LBS and UE, information and data exchange regarding paid internships of UE students on job portal and vice versa, etc.

Moreover, a meeting to review the preparation of 8th Convocation of the University of Education was held under the chairmanship of Pro. Dr. Talat Naseer pasha (S.I), which was attended by the conveners of different committees.

The Vice Chancellor directed to complete the process of the registration of students for the participation in Convocation by 20th July. He said the tentative date of Convocation is 9 August 2021, which will be presided over by the Chancellor/Governor of the Punjab Ch. Muhammad Sarwar.

Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation in collaboration with Dow University of Health Sciences Pakistan organized a webinar on “The role of Robotic Surgery in Developing Countries”.

This was in association with three bodies including the Society of Surgeons of Pakistan, Society of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists of Pakistan, and Pakistan Association of Urological Surgeons. During the webinar, the role of robotic surgery was discussed and demonstrated in the fields of Urology, general surgery, and gynecology. Dr. Irfan Rizvi Chairman department of Surgery, Virginia Hospital Centre, USA, moderated the proceedings.

He said Robotic Surgery provides great comfort and relief for patients suffering from Colon and rectal diseases. Dr. Khurshid Guru, Director Robotic Surgery, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Centre, USA, highlighted the role of Robotic Surgery in cancer patients. He said patients get great relief in terms of less time, less expenditure, and less pain.

Dr. Subhash Khanna, Prof of Surgery Gastroenterology, GSL Medical College, India, presented their experiences of Robotic Surgery in India. He demonstrated operative procedure with Robotic. Dr. Shahriyar Ghazanfar, Prof of Surgery and Robotics, Dow University of Health Sciences, Pakistan, Dr. Muhammad Waris Farooka, Prof of Surgery National Hospital and Medical Services, Lahore, and Dr. Rehan Mohsin, Prof of Surgery and Robotics, SIUT presented in the webinar on their specialty.

It was general consensus that in the future, Robotics Surgery will become a landmark in the field of surgery because of its benefits which include significantly less pain, less blood loss, less risk of infection, less scarring, shorter hospital stay, and quicker recovery time.