ISLAMABAD, July 28: As many as 2,000 students from Balochistan and the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (Fata), who have been studying in different universities all over the country, are considering discontinuing education as they have not got scholarships since February 2012, Dawn has learnt.
According to sources, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has been executing the need-based scholarship project for the talented students of Balochistan and Fata on the special instructions of the federal government and has awarded undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships.These scholars are studying in various public and private sector universities across Pakistan as there are only five universities in Balochistan, and none in Fata.
Most of the students are continuing their education only because of the financial support being provided by the government through the HEC. The scholarship amount covers tuition fee and other living expenditure, said sources.
A faculty member of a university added: “Unfortunately, the financial situation of these students has deteriorated as they have not received their scholarship installments since February 2012, creating an uncertain situation for them.”
He said if the situation persisted for even a short period, the students would be compelled to leave their studies as they do not have a single penny to pay their hostel accommodation and even for food, he said.
Mohammad Muzammil, a resident of Sibbi in Balochistan, has completed the first semester of LLB from the International Islamic University Islamabad. Talking to Dawn, he said he had moved back to his native town because of financial problems.
“My family was not able to afford my education due to which I was thinking to start some job. In the meanwhile, however, the HEC selected me for the scholarship and I came to Islamabad and took admission for the LLB course in February 2012. I have completed my first semester but could not pay the fee,” he said.
He said the HEC had to pay him Rs90,000 for the semester. He said he along with other friends went to the HEC where they were told that the commission had no fund for the project. “I have no option but to leave education,” he said.
Syed Nisar Ahmed, a resident of Pishin, Balochistan, who is doing MS in finance, said the university had been demanding over Rs100,000 for the registration but HEC had refused to make payment. “I have no option but to leave my studies,” he said.
Ammarah Gilani, a student of a postgraduate programme at Bahria University, Islamabad, also has the same problem but the HEC has refused to pay her scholarship.
Abdul Majid, a student of BBA at Numl, Islamabad, said: “I belong to Jaffarabad, Balochistan. The HEC had assured me that I will get Rs43,000 per semester but after completion of the semester the commission stopped paying the amount.”
“In past, the HEC used to give scholarship without any delay. My relative Mohammad Naeem completed his MA but now the HEC is telling us that the government has not released any fund to it,” he said.
Mashooq Ali Salahuddin, an under-graduate student at Numl, Rehmatullah, a student of International Islamic University, and others are also facing the same problem.
The students said they cannot live in this situation anymore and would leave their studies.
Vice Chancellor Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) Dr Masoom Yasinzai, who also belongs to Balochistan, said universities had increased the quota for such students.
“I will talk to students and will try to resolve the issue. I will go to the high-ups to convince them that the students should be facilitated,” he said.
Adviser to the HEC Dr Riaz Husain said they were already in touch with the relevant departments to get the funds for the students.—A Reporter