Arrest of al-Qaeda operative from PU raises eyebrows
Lahore, Sep 11: The arrest of an al-Qaeda operative from the Punjab University (PU) hostel last week should be an eye-opener for the varsity administration as well as the government.
Five years ago in September, the PU administration had recovered ammunition, including five Kalashnikovs (AK-47), hundreds of rounds of assault rifles and 12 hand grenades near the very hostel No 1 where a sensitive agency personnel nabbed the suspected militant on September 3 this year.
On several occasions, violence-related incidents had taken place at the Punjab University in the past and most of the time, outsiders boarding in the varsity hostels were found linked to such incidents. Almost every time, the Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) was alleged for being involved in such incidents which is also evident from many FIRs registered against its activists by the PU.
There had been many student groups at the Punjab University but the varsity had been a stronghold of the IJT, the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), in the past.
However, the incumbent Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran took a firm stand against the Jamiat and closed down its offices at both the campuses of the varsity after taking charge in 2008. However, the student organisation continued proving its existence at the varsity by holding various events, including a big general convention at the varsity's New Campus in 2011.
Sources in the PU administration alleged that the nabbed suspected al-Qaeda operative was provided shelter by the Jamiat activists at the hostel. However, Jamiat denies the charge, terming it a conspiracy by the present administration to defame and malign the country's largest student organisation.
The sources also claimed the captured activist was not a foreigner, saying initial investigations into the whole episode revealed that he had even led prayers at prayer room of the hostel No 1 more than once.
The IJT's popularity graph sharply declined at the Punjab University when it "facilitated" the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan during the emergency rule of General (retd) Pervez Musharraf in 2007.
It is pertinent to mention here that the JI student wing had been opposing the Musicology Department of the university since its inception in 2006, terming it against the Islamic principles. Ever since the launch of MA Musicology programme, the classes are being held at Alhamra, The Mall, as PU management failed to shift the same to its campuses, either at the New Campus or Old Campus fearing a backlash by the IJT.
Many of the PU faculty members believe that had the Punjab government supported the varsity administration in clearing hostels from outsiders and non-student elements by conducting police operation, many of violence-related incidents might not have happened.
They are of the view that the presence of alleged al-Qaeda operative is also failure on part of government because of its indifferent attitude towards the country's oldest and largest university, having 30,000 on-campus students. They also argue that if strict police action had been taken against the outsiders and those providing shelter to them in the past, the situation would have been different today.
However, many other faculty members see the same sheer failure on the part of PU administration, observing as to how it could not keep an eye on suspicious persons with its own security mechanism comprising an army of security guards headed by the chief security officer. They also question as to how the administration could not stop the entry of outsiders after a clean-up operation suggesting the university admin should devise a proper security plan with the help of relevant agencies and implement the same.
PU MSc results
Lahore: Punjab University (PU) has announced the results of MSc Economics (Morning/Replica) semester system, session 2011-2013. Meanwhile, the PU has issued written date sheets for the BS in Computer Science (first, second, third and fourth year), 2nd annual examination 2012 and 1st annual examination 2013. Details are available on the varsity website www.pu.edu.pk.
Teachers call off protest rally
Lahore: The Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association (PPLA) has called off its protest rally and sit-in as a result of a successful dialogue with Provincial Minister for Education Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan.
The leadership of PPLA has expressed full satisfaction over the Punjab government's response to their genuine demands and hoped that promotion process of all cadres of college teachers will become more rapid in near future.
According to a handout issued on Monday, a delegation of the Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association led by its President Prof. Dr. Zahid Ahmed Sheikh met Provincial Minister for Education Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan and presented various proposals to bring betterment in the promotion process of professors and lecturers in the province.
It was decided in the meeting that a three-member special committee, comprising of representatives of the PPLA, will prepare a working paper regarding pay protection and upgrade of tentative seniority list of all cadres of the teaching staff working in public sector colleges. The recommendations of this special committee will be sent to the departmental promotion committee working under the Chief Secretary Punjab for implementation after a proper legal vetting.
Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan announced constitution of an anomaly committee in the Finance Department to look into technical reservations of various stakeholders. The minister assured delegation about the resolution of their genuine demands with all sincerity and said that working paper regarding promotion of college teachers will be implemented without undue delay provided the aspirants will fulfil terms and conditions for their promotion.
Additional Secretary Higher Education Punjab Waqas Ali Mahmood informed delegation of the fact that more than five thousand and five hundred college teachers have been promoted during the last fiscal year.
He gave an assurance to implement all features of the special package given by Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif for professors and lecturers in a phased manner. President PPLA Dr. Zahid Ahmed Sheikh and his colleagues promised on the occasion that they will extend all-out cooperation to the department of Higher Education in completing non-available service record of those aspirants of promotion whose ACRs and other service documents are missing causing uncalled for delay in their promotion. The news
First PhD in immunology
Lahore: The University of Health Sciences (UHS) has awarded PhD degree to Dr Nadeem Afzal in the subject of immunology.
It is the first PhD degree in immunology awarded by the university, a press release issued on Monday.
The research topic of Dr Nadeem Afzal was "The role of genetics and immune mechanisms in pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy".
UHS pathology department's head Prof A.H. Nagi supervised the research.
The thesis was evaluated by Prof Mustafa Musa from School of Medical Sciences, USM, Kelantan, Malaysia and Prof Zahid Shakoor of College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Dr Nadeem Afzal is currently serving as Associate Professor at UHS Department of Immunology. Dawn