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QAU sexual harassment | PMDC farce election

QAU professor faces probe after sexual harassment charges
Islamabad, April 25: A Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) professor is under investigation on charges of making sexual advances towards a female student. It is alleged that he first forced the student to write her thesis under his supervision and later fabricated a case of plagiarism after she refused sexual favours.

It is the third incident in QAU in two years. Two professors were earlier sent on forced retirement in July 2011 on the same grounds. Meanwhile, two female students have already changed their supervisors on the same grounds after the professor strictly instructed her see him only in the evening for dinner and shopping and there must be no friend accompanying her.

This professor who is in his late 30s and still not married does not accept male students for the supervision of their thesis and research. On the other hand he forces female students and threatens that they could fail in semester exams.

A three-member committee that is investigating into the allegations refused to give details and said their final verdict will be conveyed to the university administration for further action.

Background interviews with informed students reveal that the professor had pressured the female student for choosing him as supervisor threatening that otherwise she would get poor grades in the final semester.

Offering incentives, the professor said he would take her to shopping and dinner but she must come to his office for 'consultation' after 5pm and alone. Concerned about her career, the student submitted to the demand.

It has been learnt that the student had an affair with a cousin studying in QAU who was a thorn in the eyes of the professor as he would leave no effort to humiliate him, even passing racist remarks mocking his colour and conduct without any reason.

As the female student went to see the professor one evening, he started making sexual advances and touched her physically that infuriated her. She ran away from the professor's office and registered a complaint with the students' affairs section but no action was taken.

Meanwhile, the external examiner who conducted viva of her thesis conducted all praise for her research work. In contrast, the alleged professor who was supervisor and supposed to defend his student, charged the student of plagiarism apparently because she had refused to oblige him sexually.

The student who was deeply hurt by the undignified attitude of the professor went to lodge a complaint with the head of the department who subsequently took up the matter with the vice chancellor. A three-member Committee is now investigating the case and has recorded statements of different students whereas the accused professor appeared on Wednesday to face the allegations.

The News contacted two of the committee members who refused to divulge details, saying they will submit a report to the vice chancellor. The head of department was also reluctant to speak. It has been learnt two female students have already changed supervisors on grounds of sexual harassment by this professor. The QAU administration had to remove two professors in July 2011; controller examination was retired for a molestation attempt and an IT professor removed for sexual harassment. The news

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PMA rejects 'farce' PMDC poll
Karachi: The Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) and the College of Family Medicine Pakistan (CFMP) on Wednesday appealed to the chief justice of Pakistan to take notice of the "farce election" announced by "a few individuals who had dominated the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC)".

In a press conference at the PMA House, Dr Aziz Khan Tank, secretary general of the CFMP, Dr Mirza Ali Azhar, secretary general of the PMA centre, Dr S.M. Qaisar Sajjad, treasurer of the PMA centre and Dr Idrees Adhi, president of the PMA Karachi claimed that the PMDC was being run by a few individuals through an administrator and "positive proof of it" was the resignation of PMDC president Prof Sibt-e-Hasan Zaidi a few days ago.

"There are burning problems of medical colleges recognised hurriedly at a time when quackery is spreading like wildfire all over the country and no one is there to bother about it," said Dr Tank.

He said the recognition of foreign degrees from Afghanistan, South East Asian countries and even from African and South American countries were no short of scams, on which Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry should take notice of its.

Dr Azhar said that the PMDC examination for 'so-called graduates', who claimed that they graduated from foreign universities of Cuba, Russia and other countries, through 'unfair means' was an injustice with brilliant students and patients, who would be the ultimate sufferers.

He questioned the PMDC election on seats for general practitioners or family physicians.

He said there were 132,000 general practitioners and family physicians in the country and they needed proper representation in the PMDC.

He said that one representative for one province was not enough to represent large number of family doctors.

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Young doctors show concern at PMDC poll measures
Lahore: Young doctors have shown concern at the April 2013 regulations as well as Pakistan Medical and Dental Council's (PMDC) new election schedule and described these as a 'conspiracy' to keep them out of the electoral race.

The PMDC election commission was facing criticism for not following council's Amendment Act 2012, an official privy to the issue said. He said young candidates - the Registered Medical Practitioners (RMPs) and Registered Dental Practitioners (RDPs) - were feeling threatened by PMDC Election Regulations made on April 1, weeks before the election day.

"Apparently, the new election date (April 27) announced by the election commission is a violation of the PMDC Amendment Act 2012 and the PMDC Election Regulations 2013," he said.

The Amendment Act 2012 and even section 13 (sub-section 4) of the PMDC Election Regulations 2013 said: "Any person aggrieved by the decision of election committee shall be at liberty to file an appeal to the council or any such sub-committee of the council created for this purpose, within seven days of announcement/communication of the final list. The appeal will be decided by the council or its sub-committee within 14 days."

These regulations, a copy of which is available with Dawn, say the election committee requires at least 21 days after issuance of the final list of candidates to hear complaints. The final list was announced and displayed by the election commission on April 18.

Doctors and dentists registered with the PMDC will be eligible to participate in the electoral exercise meant to pick one member each from seven regions of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Islamabad Capital Territory, Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Gilgit-Baltistan. The members will be elected in three categories - RMPs, RDPs and Professors.

"The controversial regulations made by the PMDC executive committee in an all-of-a-sudden decision on April 1, 2013 have raised doubts about transparency of the electoral process," says Young Doctors Association Punjab Election Cell Coordinator Dr Shabbir Chaudhry.

He said the PMDC election commission was using tactics to elect members of its choice by discouraging young doctors contesting the election.
He said the PMDC administration had set a condition in the regulations, requiring the RMPs and RDPs to provide "10-year good standing with the council".

He said a Rs25,000 fee was required to get PMDC certificates to meet this requirement and added that the process of obtaining certificates of 'good standing' required some weeks. He said this restriction was a violation of section 5 of the PMDC Amendment Act 2012.

Dr Chaudhry said the council made it compulsory for young health professionals through a regulation to deposit a "bank draft of Rs50,000 as security as decided by the election committee that shall be forfeited if the candidate fails to secure at least 20 per cent of the total votes cast." No such condition was set for professors contesting the election, he said.

"Punjab has the largest share in the PMDC voter list for the upcoming election, but the election commission set-up only seven polling booths and this might create trouble for voters from far flung districts," he said.

Dr Chaudhry said there were 62,000 voters in Punjab, 28,784 in Sindh, 2,773 in Balochistan and 2,708 in Gilgit Baltistan. He said four polling booths were set-up in Gilgit-Baltistan and six in Balochistan. He said polling booths were set-up for previous PMDC elections in all division headquarters to facilitate the voters.

PMDC administrator Dr Raja Amjad Mahmood dispelled the impression that laid down rules were being violated and said the number of polling booths had been decreased because of limited resources and security issues.

He said the proposed security fee was Rs100,000 and the election commission cut it to Rs50,000 to facilitate young candidates. He said the election schedule was announced in accordance with PMDC rules and regulations. He refused to talk further on this issue when asked about
violation of the Amendment Act 2012 and section 13 (sub section 4) of the PMDC Election Regulations 2013.

"My duty is to conduct a transparent election and everything is going in the right direction," Dr Mahmood said. He said some elements wanted the election postponed, but the election commission would conduct the election according to the schedule.

The PMDC administrator said he would call a meeting of the newly elected council on May 6 at any cost.

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PM urged to preserve autonomy of HEC
Islamabad: The chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Dr. Javaid R. Laghari, has written a letter to Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso, requesting him to ensure the autonomy of the commission.

According to letter No 10-14/HEC/A&C/2012, dated 23rd April, (available with Dawn), the chairman has drawn the attention of the PM towards certain conspiracies against the HEC, claiming that since 2002, some elements had been trying to control the HEC, which would be fatal for the higher education system.

Mr Laghari wrote in the letter that the government had established HEC as an autonomous organisation under an ordinance in 2002. The Prime Minister is the organisation's controlling authority, and the chairman of HEC had the status of a federal minister.

Recent inept institutional modifications in the Rules of Business 1973 seriously threatened the HEC and if its autonomy was not respected and preserved, the organization would fail to propel Pakistan towards progress, the Chairman said.

"Although the 18th Amendment of the Parliament fully supports the autonomy of HEC, in 2011, HEC's functions (pertaining to finance and administration) were distributed to other ministries and divisions.

The matter was challenged in the Supreme Court, which, in its order dated April 12, 2011 directed that HEC shall continue discharging its functions and duties as in the past," the letter said.

Mr Laghari said the HEC was again placed under the administrative and financial control of the Ministry of Education and Training in 2012, which was then withdrawn because of the Sindh High Court's orders.

"On February 22, 2013, the government amended the Rules of Business 1973 through a Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO). As a result, the finance division has already approved the placement of HEC Development Grant for 2013-14 under the portfolio of the Ministry of Education rather than the Ministry of Finance," he said.

The PM has been requested to withdraw the notification of the cabinet division regarding the allocation of HEC's functions to other divisions.

HEC may be declared a subject of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Division would be responsible for representing HEC in the Parliamentary businesses, the chairman said.

Furthermore, the premier has been requested to restore the status of chairman HEC as a federal minister and allow executive director of HEC to submit summaries to the Cabinet directly with the approval of the chairman.

Leader of PPP Barrister Fawad Chaudhry said the caretaker government had every right practiced by the elected government, and the SRO could be withdrawn.

However referring to a case, he said that in the 1990s during the absence of Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, the government had appointed a few judges in the Supreme Court.

"Sajjad Ali Shah took a suo moto notice of this, and while hearing the case, gave an observation that caretakers or acting heads cannot take decisions which have a long-term effect, and can only take administrative decisions," he said.

"It's up to the Prime Minister; if he considers the SRO an administrative decision, he can withdraw it," he added. Dawn

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Punjab University and NUML win All Pakistan Debate Contest
Islamabad: University of the Punjab Lahore and National University of Modern Languages (NUML) Islamabad won the 15th All Pakistan Inter-University Debate Contest for Award of Allama Iqbal Shield, in Urdu and English categories, respectively.

The final round of the Contest was held at Higher Education Commission Secretariat in Islamabad on Wednesday. HEC chairperson, Dr. Javaid Laghari was the chief guest on the occasion. About 30 contestants belonging to public and private sector higher education institutions from all over the country participated in the contest.

In individual debates, Waseem Gohar from Institute of Management Sciences Peshawar, Ahmed Nadir from University of Engineering & Technology (UET) Taxila and Shaheen Akhter from Karakorum International University Gilgit won first, second and third positions respectively, in the English category. While in Urdu debates, Ahmad Talha Wali from University of Engineering & Technology (UET) Lahore, Umer Khan Ufaq from Sir Syed University of Engineering & Technology Karachi and Hamza Hameed Tarar from University of the Punjab Lahore clinched first, second and third positions respectively.

The winners of first, second and third positions were given cash prizes of Rs.30,000, Rs.25,000 and Rs.20,000, respectively.

The Contest is first organised at the university level wherein students from all departments and constituent colleges take part. Second round is organised at regional level in Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar and Islamabad (for Federal, AJK, FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan universities). The top scoring teams, consisting of two students and individual top scorer selected in second round participate in the final round, both in English and Urdu categories.

Speaking on the occasion, HEC chairperson, Dr. Javaid R Laghari said HEC has undertaken a number of initiatives to promote extra-curricular activities at university campuses. The basic objective of the contest is to promote communication skills and critical thinking of the students, enhance their understanding of socio-economic and political issues as well as divert their energies towards healthy activities and creative thinking. He also announced to double the amount of cash prize for the position holders of the debate competition.

HEC executive director, Prof. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed said that HEC has been successfully organising All Pakistan Inter-University Debate Contest for the last many years among students of public and private universities of Pakistan. He also informed that position holders of the contest would represent Pakistan at SAARC Debate Contest this year. app

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Book on medical ethics by Dr Iqbal Khan launched
Islamabad: "Medical ethics - an Islamic perspective", a book authored by Professor Dr Muhammad Iqbal Khan was formally launched in a gathering of senior doctors from across the country on Wednesday. The book has been published by Institute of Policy Studies (IPS).

Speaking on the occasion, Khalid Rehman, Director General of IPS emphasised the need to study medical ethics at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

"Faith based ethical understandings are a societal need. There are very few books available on the subject in Pakistan and in the Muslim world. The special emphasis on faith based medical ethics requires more research and elaborations," Rehman said.

He said there must be a group of senior doctors who address all upcoming issues and challenges in accordance with the Islamic ideology.

The book comprises almost all important aspects of bio medical ethics from an Islamic perspective. It also provides an overview on physician practice, its relationship with other concerns including pharmaceutical and related industries, medical education, contemporary medical issues, philosophical and historical aspects - all linked in an elaborate style.

Opinions of Muslims scholars have been added for the guidance of medical practitioners. The research ethics and ethics of emerging issues were also thoroughly discussed. app

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