Irrelevant portfolios: In Punjab Assembly, no charm for foreign graduates

Published: October 7, 2016
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Lawmakers educated abroad form a tiny minority in legislature. 
PHOTO: ONLINE

Lawmakers educated abroad form a tiny minority in legislature. PHOTO: ONLINE

LAHORE: A degree from an international university may be valued in various fields, but not in Punjab Assembly. There are just 20 foreign educated lawmakers in the 368-member legislative house and only three of them are ministers.

But compared to their representation in the assembly, these lawmakers enjoy a bigger slice of the provincial cabinet. While they make just 5.4% of the legislature, they make up 15% of the cabinet.

These three ministers are: Punjab Finance Minister Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, who has a doctorate of philosophy (PhD) in economics from University of Leeds of United Kingdom; Housing, Urban Development and Public Health Engineering Minister Tanveer Aslam Malik, who did his masters in business administration from Southeastern University of Washington DC, United States; and Agriculture Minister Dr Farrukh Javed, who is a qualified doctor having Membership of the Royal College of Physicians of the United Kingdom.

The other foreign-educated lawmakers include Khanewal’s Akbar Hayat Hiraj, who did his MBA from the American Intercontinental University of Los Angeles; Muhammad Kashif from Nankana who holds an MSc in Economic Development and Planning from University College London; Syed Raza Ali Gillani from Okara who has an MSc in Textile Marketing from Philadelphia University, US; and Dr Murad Ras from Lahore, who graduated with a degree in finance from Eastern Kentucky University, US.

Similarly, Pir Kashif Ali Chishty from Pakpattan has an accounting, finance and economics degree from University of Essex, UK. Pir Ashraf Rasool from Sheikhupura did his MBA from Sydney, Australia. Anis Quraishi from Kasur obtained a Master’s degree in development administration from Birmingham University.

Tahia Noon did her Master’s from Trinity College of Dublin, Ireland. Malik Muhammad Ali Khokhar from Multan has an LLB (Hons) from University of Buckingham. Moonis Elahi from Gujrat did his BBA from University of Pennsylvania.  Tariq Subhani from Sialkot graduated in business administration from William Patterson University, USA.

Ali Salman from Nankana did his BA (Hons) from University of Sussex, UK. Qazi Adnan Fareed from Bahawalpur did his LLM from the London Metropolitan University UK. Syed Haroon Ahmad Sultan Bukhari from Muzaffargarh has an MBA from the University of Liverpool while Hussain Jahania Gardezi from Khanewal studied at the Foreign Ministry Institute of Denmark.

Foreign graduates also feature in the list of special assistants and advisers as well. Of the 39 parliamentary secretaries, two special assistants to the chief minister, one special adviser to the chief minister and a parliamentary secretary have degrees from international institutions.

Who’s in majority?

While there are some lawmakers who have only completed Matriculation or middle school, a large majority comprises graduates of established local institutions.

If the lawmakers are classified into individual groups of their institutions then foreign qualified legislators are the biggest group in the assembly, followed by graduates from the Government College University, University of Punjab, Forman Christian College and Aitchison College.

Old Ravians, graduates of Government College University, Lahore, comprise the second largest group of lawmakers with 18 Ravians in the assembly with the Leader of the House, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, himself one of them.

The number of University of Punjab graduates in the assembly is 15 with most of them coming out of the law college of the university. Then there are nine Aitchisonians and as many Formanites, graduates of Aitchison College and Forman Christian College, respectively. Three MPAs studied at Murree’s Lawrence College while one, Hina Parvez Butt, is a graduate of the prestigious Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).

Published in The Express Tribune, October 7th, 2016.

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