PESHAWAR: The Afghan refugee students have demanded of the government of Pakistan to increase admission quota and scholarships for them.

The demand was made by Afghan students, who are studying in different public and private sector educational institutions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. These students have recently founded Afghan Students Union (ASU) to help strengthen social and cultural ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Qiyamuddin, Zahid, Akhtar, Fatahullah, Hashmat Danish, Haroon Noori, Mohammad Ibrahim Zazai, Ramin Zazai, Imran Zazai, Qari Mirajuddin and Rahim Jan studying in various departments of University of Peshawar, Edwardes College, Peshawar, Islamia College, Peshawar and Khyber Medical University were selected cabinet members of Afghan Students Union at a ceremony here on Sunday.

“We request both federal and provincial governments to increase admission quota and scholarships for Afghan students as it will help us keep better relations,” Ibrahim Zazai, the president of Afghan Students Union told Dawn.

He said that the previous provincial government had included Afghan students in awarding laptop scheme but the present government dropped the idea.

Around 4,000 students get education in various educational institutions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa “The basic aim of Afghan Students Union is to help in cementing social and cultural ties between the two brotherly countries for better future prospects for young people,” he said.

Fatima Agha, a resident of Kabul city, said that she had not received scholarship money for the last half and one year which was hampering her studies. “I am a 4th year student at Khyber Medical University. My colleague Fareeda Shahid and I have not received funds to pay our dues and bills for the last many months. This keeps us disturbed most of time,” Ms Agha said.

Peshawar University, offers two each seats in all its departments to Afghan students. Each year, 2,000 Afghans apply for 80 seats at University of Peshawar, reserved for them on quota basis.

Mr Zazai said that five seats each in every department of University of Peshawar had been reduced to only one each on foreign student’s quota. “Earlier, only the well-off five Afghan students would avail the opportunity but now four seats remain vacant as no student from any other country applies to occupy the reserved seats,” he said.

An official at ministry of inter-provincial coordination (IPC), Islamabad, when contacted, said that around 1,500 Afghan students were already benefiting from the scheme. “Afghan students will get scholarship funds very soon. There is no issue about it,” the official said, and added that over 30,000 Afghan nationals had graduated from Pakistani institutions and were playing active role in the reconstruction and socio-economic development of their country.

Published in Dawn February 16th , 2015

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