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Punjab Governor restores scholarships for Baloch, FATA, GB students

ISLAMABAD: Punjab Governor Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar has restored old admissions quota and scholarships for students from Balochistan, merged Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Addressing a press conference at the Governor’s House, he also announced a new scholarship policy for these students with financial assistance from the provincial governments and the philanthropists.

A large number of students from Islamia University Bahawalpur, Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) Multan, Government College University (GCU) Lahore, and other universities were present expressing their apprehensions.

The students from BZU Multan and Islamia University Bahawalpur had staged a sit-in outside the Punjab Assembly and were demanding restoration of the admission quota and scholarships, which the university administration had withdrawn due to non-provision of financial assistance from the Higher Education Commission (HEC).

Earlier, Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif visited the sit-in camp to express solidarity with the protesting students. The opposition leader criticised the government for withdrawing the admission quota for the smaller provinces.

Punjab governor said the previous governments were responsible for the problems being faced by students, adding that no government had allocated any funds for these students.

To a question by a student, he said all previous scholarships of students had been restored, while the new students who were refused admission in the new session, would be called back to join the universities.

Th governor said that on his intervention, Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar has earmarked Rs20 million annually for the BZU Multan students, which will be increased to Rs80 million in four years while another Rs 20 million has been announced by the philanthropist organisations.

The governor said for the first time in the last 72 years, the government had announced 20,052 scholarships for deserving students of Balochistan, ex-FATA and GB for a period of four years. This includes 3220 full scholarships, while the rest would be 50 percent amounts. He elaborated that the Balochistan government had promised to pay the rest of the 50 percent of the scholarship amounts.

The governor, as chancellor of all provincial universities, dispelled the impression that the students would be stripped of scholarships, adding that all vice-chancellors had been directed to restore the previous status of the old students while new students would be awarded 50 per cent amount of the scholarships.

The governor asked the students to end their protest camp as their demands had been met by the government. He also formed a committee comprising nine student representatives to take up their problems with the higher education department and the governor’s representatives.