The Government College University Lahore on Monday conferred the honorary doctorate of philosophy (PhD) degree upon the British Member of Parliament (MP) Afzal Khan in recognition of his remarkable contribution for the promotion of political, diplomatic, economic and cultural relations between the United Kingdom and Pakistan.
Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar chaired the first session of the University’s 18th Convocation where he along with Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Asghar Zaidi awarded degrees and medals to Afzal Khan, other PhD scholars and position holders.
Besides medals and rolls of honour, a total of 2,044 degrees would be awarded this year at university’s two-day convocation which included 68 PhD, 644 MS/M.Phil, 344 MA/MSc degrees and 988 BA/BSc (Hons) degrees.
Speaking on the occasion, Punjab Governor Ch Muhammad Sarwar said that it was a matter of great pride for him to award the Honoris Causa doctorate degree to Afzal Khan, the first Muslim Lord Mayor of Manchester, who played a pivotal role in bringing together the European nations and the Muslim world and highlighting the issue of Palestine and Kashmir at the international platforms.
The governor also announced setting up the Chancellor’s Fund for providing scholarships to the needy university students. He said that the Punjab government had appointment all Vice Chancellors on merit, so it was expected from them to follow the merit as well.
The governor congratulated the graduates, saying that they had crossed an important milestone in their lives. “It is up to you now to discover your exact potential and transform the world around you in accordance with the ideals you have acquired during your studies,” he said.
On a lighter note, Ch Muhammad Sarwar as Chancellor announced abolishing a protocol of avoiding clapping by students during convocation proceedings in universities in Punjab, saying that “the convocation was the most memorable day of students’ life which must be celebrated with full energy and joy.
He said that girls had out-shined boys in all fields of life and now 80 percent of academic medals in universities were won by the girls.
Presenting his convocation report, Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Asghar Zaidi said there were three very basic principles on which human life flourished i.e. diversity, curiosity and creativity, but very unfortunately they were contradicted by a culture of education that was prevalent in our country. He said that the standardization culture in their education system didn’t encourage diversity rather it laid great stress on conformity.
The VC believed that students could learn and excel best through a broad-based curriculum that celebrated their various talents, which could be arranged in bespoke curriculum and examinations. He also briefed the Chancellor about the initiatives taken for improvement of quality of education of GCU.
GU Registrar Dr Shuakat Ali presented the dissertation to the Chancellor to award honorary PhD degree to Afzal Khan. Deans of respective disciplines were also present.
Afzal Khan, the Member of House of Commons, UK dedicated his honorary doctorate degree to all the British Pakistanis. He said he was privileged to receive an honorary doctorate degree from historical educational institution which produced prime ministers, army chiefs, Nobel Laureates, scientists, poets and many eminent men of letters.
Earlier, the governor and vice chancellor presented “Prof GD Sondhi Medal” for overall excellent performance to Rabia Javeed, “Mohammad Idrees Medal” for Best Debater to Muhammad Abdullah Mohsin, “Daud Ilyas Medal” for outstanding intermediate student to Muhammad Abdullah Hamid, “Dr Saida Karamat Medal” for Best Woman Graduate to Shehr Bano, “Waleed Iqbal Medal” for Best English Parliamentary Speaker to Harris Ali Virk, “Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif Medal” for Best Urdu Speaker to Amna Ghafoor and “Madeeha Gohar Medal” for the Best Female Actor to Seemab Shafiq while “Thespian Medal” for excellent performance in Dramatics was conferred upon Muhammad Affaq Imran and Hafiz Muhammad Najam ul Saqib.