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Event Title: Senator Irfan-Ul-Haque Siddiqui, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Federal Education & Professional Training Presiding over a Meeting of the Committee at Parliament House Islamabad

Event Date: 2023-03-28

Education Committee takes serious notice of Vacant Chairs Abroad – terms it act of criminal negligence

The Senate Standing Committee on Federal Education and Professional Training, in a meeting held on Tuesday at Parliament House took serious notice of the matter of Pakistan Chairs abroad under different nomenclatures such as the Quaid-i-Azam Chair and Allama Iqbal Chair; Chairs in Urdu and Pakistan Studies. Chairman Committee, Senator Irfanul Haque Siddiqi deeming the matter ‘criminal negligence’ stressed the need for an in-depth probe of the matter, so that those responsible for this apathetic attitude may be taken to task.                                        

The Committee was informed that a total of 14 Chairs have been vacant since 2008.  Out of the 14 just six Chairs were advertised due to budgetary constraints.  Selection process was completed in 2021 wherein a panel of three scholars was selected for Cambridge University.  The process was terminated by the University and the Ministry was directed to re-advertise the position as per their set of procedures.  The Committee was informed that Chairs for Urdu and Pakistan Studies are currently vacant in China, Egypt, Germany, USA, UK, Turkey, Hong Kong, Iran, Jordan, Nepal and Kazakhhstan.  The Committee while taking stringent note of the issue, expressed their concerns regarding the issue and said that Pakistan has lost a golden opportunity to dissociate itself from terrorism and crime and enter the folds of international academia to introduce to the world feats accomplished in culture and literature.  It stressed the need for stringent action against this negligence that has held back the softer side of the country. Deliberating over the matter, Chairman Committee Senator Irfanul Haque Siddiqui directed that the Ministry submit a comprehensive report regarding the issue in the next meeting. 

Discussing the recent clashes between student groups at Quaid-i-Azam University in light of the briefing by Dr. Niaz Ahmed Akhtar Vice Chancellor Quaid-i-Azam University the Committee stressed the need to investigate the matter in detail and ensure that the root cause be ascertained. Chairman Committee Senator Irfanul Haque Siddiqui welcomed the newly appointed Vice Chancellor of Quaid-i-Azam University and assured him of the Committee’s all out support. Deeming the need for revival of Student Unions in Universities, Chairman Committee Senator Irfanul Haque Siddiqui was of the view that grouping must be conducted related to interests and national heroes in place of ethnicity.  This he said would play an important role in diffusing ethnic fault lines and infuse in students a sense of national unity.      Chairman Committee Senator Irfanul Haque Siddiqui directed the Dr. Niaz Ahmed Akhtar to formulate a Commission and submit a detailed report to the Committee on the causes of the issue and recommendations of ways that it can be curbed. The need for construction of a boundary wall around the University Campus was stressed by Dr. Niaz Ahmed Akhtar to ensure security. The Committee recommended that a letter be sent to the CDA to submit its report regarding construction of a boundary wall.

Taking up the matter related to the appointment/posting of junior lady teachers in Public Schools in Islamabad, the Committee condemning the delay in the resolving the matter asserted that all out efforts must be made to regularize the teachers that fall in this category.  It was recommended that the Ministry of Education should take up the issue once again and approach the Cabinet to reconsider its previous decision so that the matter is reviewed minutely on humanitarian grounds.

While considering the private member bills, the International Islamic University (Amendment) Bill, 2023 was approved with minor amendments. 

The International Institute of Technology, Culture and Health Sciences Bill, 2022, introduced by Senator Kamran Murtaza and Senator Fawzia Arshad was pended due to further probe of the matter. A visit of the facility will be conducted by a three member committee comprising Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed (Convener), Senator Fawzia Arshad and a senior member of HEC. A report regarding the matter will be submitted to the Committee within 10 days. 

Chaired by Senator Irfanul Haque Siddiqui, the meeting was attended by Senator Dr. Mehr Taj Roghani, Senator Fawzia Arshad, Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed, Senator Jam Mahtab Hussain Dahar, Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan, Senator Molvi Faiz Muhammad, Senator Kamran Murtaza, Senator Molana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri and Senior officers of the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training and HEC.  Chairman HEC, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed and newly appointed Vice Chancellor Quaid-i-Azam University Dr. Niaz Ahmed Akhtar were present as well.