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KU admissions policy comes under fire in Sindh Assembly

KU admissions policy comes under fire in Sindh Assembly

KARACHI: The admissions policy of the University of Karachi under which the varsity gives priority to the students of the metropolis came under criticism at the Sindh Assembly on Tuesday when Pakistan Peoples Party lawmakers demanded an end to what they called a ‘quota system’ and equal opportunities for students of all Sindh districts.

PPP lawmakers Khairunnisa Mughal and Syed Sardar Ali moved a resolution in the assembly on Tuesday, which was the private members’ day, terming the KU admissions policy contradictory and unconstitutional and observed that this policy had shut the door of the public sector university on students hailing from the interior of Sindh.

Their resolution was also endorsed by Pakistan Muslim League-Functional lawmaker Nusrat Seher Abbasi. The PML-F’s Mehtab Akbar Rashdi said that all students should be given admission on merit in the KU.

However, Senior Sindh Minister Nisar Khuhro said that it was the constitutional right of every youth belonging to any province to get admission to any university.

The introduction of a quota system in the admissions policy was not justified, he added.

In the absence of lawmakers belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement who earlier staged a walkout, Deputy Speaker Syeda Shehla Raza, who was presiding over the session, put the resolution to the house and it was unanimously adopted.

The resolution reads: “This assembly resolves that provincial government take notice of implementation of three-category — K, S and P — admissions policy which tries to deprive the right of admission of students of Sindh other than Karachi. The assembly rejects this contradictory and unconstitutional admissions policy and demands that equal opportunities be provided to all districts of the Sindh province.”

Earlier, Syed Khalid Ahmed of the MQM moved a motion to table the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (Amendment) Bill.

He said earlier the elected Karachi mayor was the chairman of the KWSB but after amending the law the right to appoint the chairman of the board had been given to the provincial government.

He said now elected representatives had come following the local government elections and they were earlier running the KWSB in a more effective manner and they could again manage it in a better way; therefore, the KWSB be handed over to the elected mayor.

However, the chair rejected the motion sparking a noisy protest by the MQM lawmakers. They gathered around the rostrum, shouted slogans demanding that powers be given to Karachi and staged a walkout.

They boycotted the rest of the business and staged a sit-in at the main entrance of the assembly building.

Before the walkout, Mr Ahmed said that the ruling PPP on the basis of its majority in the house was depriving the elected representatives of the mandate given to them by the people.

He demanded that the chair instead of gagging the opposition’s voice allow him to introduce the bill and refer it to the standing committee concerned.

Responding to his speech, Senior Minister Khuhro said that in the light of the 18th amendment to the Constitution, the assembly had passed the Sindh Local Government Act, 2013 in which all powers of the elected local government representatives had been defined. These powers were not challenged in any court despite a passage of two years and every party had participated in the elections. The elected representatives would get all powers under the law, he added.

The chair, Shehla Raza, ruled an adjournment motion of MQM lawmaker Muhammad Hussain Khan out of order and termed in non-maintainable after it was opposed by senior minister Khuhro.

In the motion the MQM lawmaker wanted to discuss the issue that “honest and professional Urdu-speaking [Mohajir] government officers in Sindh province are being removed from their positions”.

In his brief speech, he cited the recent transfer of Karachi Commissioner Shoaib Siddiqui who was replaced with a relatively junior officer.

Responding to the speech, Mr Khuhro said it was not appropriate to use the term ‘Mohajir’ even after 68 years. As far as the transfers and postings of officers were concerned, the appointments were made keeping in view administrative capacity and efficiency. The post of Karachi commissioner was of grade 20-21, he added.

A private bill — the Metropolitan University Karachi Bill, 2015 — which was tabled by PPP’s Syed Faseeh Ahmad and Ikramullah Dharejo of PPP was also unanimously passed.

Four other bills — the Benazir Bhutto Shaheed University at Lyari, Karachi (amendment) Bill, The Sindh Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Bill, The Sindh Minorities Rights Commission Bill, 2015 and the Criminal Law (Protection of Minorities) Bill 2015 — were referred to the standing committee concerned.

Five resolutions were part of the order of the day on Tuesday. Two of them were adopted unanimously. The second resolution of the day was tabled by Saeed Nizamani of the PML-F in which he demanded that the government upgrade the Civil Hospital Sanghar and post specialists doctors in addition to fill 38 vacancies of doctors and ensure provision of medicines.

In his brief speech, the mover and his colleague Imtiaz Ahmad Shaikh pointed out that conditions in even civil hospitals in the district were pathetic which called for immediate attention of the government.

Three other resolutions could not be taken up because of the MQM lawmaker’s walkout.

The resolutions were of Muhammad Hussain Khan, Kamran Akhtar and Muhammad Rashid Khilji regarding a reduction in the fuel prices to provide relief to the people; setting up of rescue centres on the National Highway and for setting up the city campus of the university at old campus of Model School on an immediate basis.

After completion of the order of the day at 3pm, the house was adjourned to meet again on Wednesday (today).

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2016

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