ISLAMABAD, Nov 5: The government has banned any assistance or cooperation between Pakistani and Indian educational, professional and research institutions with immediate effect, an official source in the education ministry told Dawn.

In a directive, all such institutions have been asked “to immediately dispense with all illegal links with foreign experts and educational institutions”.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has been directed to ensure implementation of the order, both in public and private sector institutions, the sources said.

The directive will be applicable on institutions, teachers, faculty members and students, as well as on exchange of papers and other material. “It is, however, not yet clear that how exchange of information and material through internet can be restricted”, a teacher remarked, when asked to comment on the directive.

The source said the decisions to this effect had been taken by the education ministry after some security agencies expressed apprehensions that a large number of students, academicians and staff members of different institutions had established non- permissible contacts with their peers across the border in different fields of mutual interest.

An incident was also reported to the ministry, suggesting that a student of crop physiology department, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, had allegedly established illegal links with some Indian experts and organizations.

On the basis of the information, the ministry has asked the UGC to request all the public/private sector universities and educational institutions, affiliated or registered with it, to immediately disconnect all illegal links, if they had any, with foreign experts and education institutions.

The ministry has also ordered that all the material, which needed to be exchanged, should be first cleared by the education ministry. Moreover, no links with any foreign experts or educational institutions should be established without the prior approval of the UGC or the government.

Meanwhile, the UGC has already dispatched the government instructions to its recognized educational institutions, both in the public and private sector.

About 68 chartered universities or degree awarding institutions are affiliated with the UGC. Out of this total number, 40 institutions are in the public sector.

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