LAHORE: A delegation of minorities leaders, last month, appealed to Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer to direct the provincial government to reserve seats for their children in various educational institutions, however, the government has rejected the governor’s recommendations, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Minority students had approached their leaders saying that for the past three years they had been asking the Punjab University (PU) to amend its rules. They have not been successful with the varsity so far. However, they are pleased with the admissions policy of both Kinnaird College University and Forman Christian College University where minority quotas have been established.
Minority Council of Pakistan chairman Sardar Bishon Singh told the Tribune that he, along with other minority group leaders, had met with Governor Taseer. He said the governor had assured them that his military secretary, Col (retd) Haider would resolve their problems. Later, he said, Col Haider met the delegation and asked them to submit written proposals.
Singh said that their only demand was that seats should be reserved for minority students in all the educational institutions of the province. He said the military secretary wrote a letter to the departments concerned asking that minority students should be given admissions on reserve seats or a quota should be created for minority students. He said later on they were told that such a quota does not exist.
Singh said that a Sikh child, Nankana Sahib resident Sardar Joginder Singh, had obtained more than 800 marks in FSc and done well in the entry test for admission to medical colleges.
However, he could not compete on open merit. He said that the delegation put Joginder’s case in front of the military secretary who wrote a letter to the University of Health Sciences (UHS). This request, he said, was also rejected, the Punjab government stating that all students would be admitted on merit.
Singh cited the case of Mohan Lal who matriculated with first division from the Lahore board but was refused admission by Government College University. He said that Sikhs, Hindus and Christians did not enjoy the same rights as Pakistani Muslims. Singh said that Kinnaird College University, which had minority leaders in the administration and the Forman Christian College, where the administration had foreign members, both admitted minority students in their institution.
“Minorities are Pakistani citizens too. Why does the government refuse to give us admissions in our own institutions on a quota system?” said local Hindu leader Dr Manohar Chand. He said he had to send his sons abroad as they could not get satisfactory employment in their own country.
Pawan Arora, a young Sikh from Nankana Sahib said that PU’s administration had been telling minority students for the past three years that they would get admission next year.
He said that he had applied for an MBA in 2008 but was rejected.
He said that PU’s administration had told him that PU would amend its admission rules next year to admit minorities against quotas but this has not happened. He said that the state was not helping minorities pursue excellence in education. PU’s registrar Dr Akhtar Chaudhry told The Express Tribune that he would discuss this matter with his senior colleagues.
Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti told The Express Tribune that he had succeeded in obtaining a five per cent employment quota for minorities in the public sector.
He said that he had taken up the issue of quota in university and college admissions for minorities with the Education Ministry but added that this was an uphill task.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 15th, 2010.
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