FATA students protest against FDA over failure to release scholarship funds

Threaten of indefinite protest outside Governor House if demands not met

Our Correspondent April 21, 2016
Students of FATA Students Organization protesting in favour of their demands outside Governor House. PHOTO: INP

PESHAWAR: Students from the tribal belt protested outside Governor House on Thursday after FATA Development Authority (FDA) failed to release their scholarship funds. They have given the government seven days to either address their grievance or brace themselves for the consequences.

The demonstrators, led by FATA Students Organisation (FSO), blocked Sher Shah Suri Road for an hour and inconvenienced a large number of commuters.

Speaking to the media, FSO President Shaukat Aziz said students from Fata, who are pursuing training courses at National College of Science and Business Management Peshawar, have been left in the lurch.

“FDA has not released their scholarship funds to the institute,” he said.

According to Aziz, the authority had signed an agreement with the institute to provide two-year training courses to students from the tribal areas.

“At first these courses were offered at other institutes,” he said. “These institutes had been closed down for a month following the Army Pubic School massacre after they failed to enhance security on the premises.  When they were reopened, the training courses for Fata’s students had been suspended.”

The FSO president, students must complete four semesters of this course to obtain a diploma.

“Most students have two semesters left and FDA has yet to release scholarship funds,” Aziz said. He added most of these students belong to underprivileged backgrounds and are not in a position to bear the expenses of the course. “If FDA not releases the fund, students will not obtain their diplomas on time,” he said.

Charter of demand

The protesters presented a charter of demands to Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra. They asked the governor to urge FDA to release the funds. In addition, they demanded an enquiry on whether the authority has utilised funds set aside for students from Fata. FDA has also been requested to treat students from Fata with respect.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd,  2016.

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