LAHORE: The Punjab University (PU) administration has decreased by 50 per cent the scholarship quota reserved for the students from Balochistan.

Earlier, the Punjab government, led by PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif, had allotted one seat in every programme of the varsity to help the students from Balochistan in 2012. Under the project all the universities of Punjab were providing free of cost education, free allotment in the hostels and also giving students from Balochistan Rs3,000 per month stipend to meet their daily needs etc.

The institutions, including PU, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Lahore College for Women University, Government College University, Lahore, Ghazi University Dera Ghazi Khan, University of Gujrat, Islamia University Bahawalpur, were on the list to provide free education to students from Balochistan.

No change to scholarship programme in other universities

Under the project as many as 100 students had been given scholarships every year in the PU since 2012 and more than 600 of them had completed their study.

All other universities made no change to the scholarships programme.

The PU has recently advertised the admission notice 2018-19 for the students from Balochistan, saying that it has decreased the scholarship number from 100 to 53.

The administration has also removed some of the departments from the list of scholarships including Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering.

Sources claimed that the step was taken by the administration to minimise the number of students from Balochistan.

He said during the past years the students had formed Baloch and Pakhtun councils in the university and it resulted in frequent quarrels.

He said the administration had also tried to decrease the number of students last year when it had started admissions but they could not do so due to resentment from the students.

The Baloch and Pakhtun council students on Monday held a meeting with PU Vice Chancellor Prof Niaz Ahmad and brought the matter into his notice.

They alleged that a senior member of the administration had threatened them that the management would not withdraw the decision and if anyone raised voice they would abolish the entire quota. “There are no reserved seats for the students of Punjab in Balochistan,” one of the students quoting the senior member as having said.

The students said they would launch a protest drive against the move.

PU VC Prof Niaz Ahmed told Dawn that the administration had decided to get recommendations from the Balochistan government and Higher Education Commission regarding admissions.

He said the Balochistan government would [first] send recommendations to the Punjab Higher Education Department (PHED) and it would give the PU administration a list for admissions.

He said the representatives of Punjab and Balochistan governments had reviewed the [admission] criteria for students in January 2018 and they had decreased the number of scholarships.

He said all the decisions were taken before his appointment as vice chancellor and he had to comply with the previous orders of Punjab and Balochistan governments.

Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2018

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