At the time of peril, where no one seemed to heed towards worst ever educational status of Balochistan, University of the Punjab took initiatives along with other Public sector Institutions of Punjab, to mitigate the effects of this extreme loss. Youth of Balochistan is deprived of some very fundamental needs despite being the residents of one of the richest and largest province of country in terms of minerals and area respectively. This doesn’t only upset them but derive them to deny certain state directives-be it legitimate or beneficial – which makes fragile conditions more beleaguered at the expense of progressive development.
University of the Punjab-the largest and the oldest educational organization of state- allocated a quota of 100 reserved seats (both in Bachelors and Masters) in approximately 73 departments for students of Balochistan. Keeping in view of extreme poverty of province, these admissions are granted on fully paid scholarship along with provision of monthly stipend of Rs. 3000. In addition to that, hostel facilities and bus service is abetting students to a much considerate extent.
This initiative which took place four years ago has, now, enabled a large number of students to witness change in their lives; not just because of education but the rich culture of co-curricular activities and social mobilization has, also, played their respective roles in developing strength and self-confidence by removing the sense of short coming.
Besides, this step, which is a sort of trump card for underprivileged students, has got praise and commendable response from every concerned authority because of its multi-dimensional beneficial aspects. It isn’t only providing education but also a source of fostering cultural harmony and positive outlook between different ethnic groups towards each other. Differences between the two provinces -especially when it comes to Punjabi, Pashtun and Baloch controversy- has been removed to a wider context as the whole scenario, which is causing backwardness and exploitation of resources, moves around the political elite not the people itself. This paradigm shift in thinking is, indeed, a remarkable achievement on behalf of worthy administration of University and the people of Punjab as well.
Surprisingly, the students of Balochistan, who were not having any rudimentary educational facilities previously, proved their mettle with strong determination and enthusiasm. Now, we are having an admirable list of gold medalists in almost every department. In addition to these academics achievements, they have established two student councils i.e. Baloch Council and PEDM (Pakhtun Educational Development Movement), which are purely intended to help the coming students of Balochistan, KP and Fata. I, personally, have witnessed the strenuous efforts of both councils to promote peace, education and sense of harmony among the students. Their hard work and unending list of achievements compelled me to approach both councils to know them further more.
I, first, met the General Secretary of PEDM, Muzammil Khan, and asked about the initiative of reserved seats. He recorded his response in the following words;
“We are thankful to the Vice Chancellor University of the Punjab, Professor Dr. Mujahid Kamran for his love and compassionate response towards the people of Balochistan because of which our students are now enrolled in one of the renowned institution of the country. These academic opportunities are, undoubtedly, more than a blessing for us.”
I also asked about the working of his organization, in response of which he uttered the following words;
“As far as the PEDM is concerned, it is non-political organization merely promoting education for the Pashtuns, not only in the University but across the Punjab. We have done tremendous efforts for the advertisement and promotion of these seats either by using the platform of social media or personal contacts.”
“After getting admissions forms, we submit it in various departments for those students who are sitting in their homes no matter from where they belong to. We also assist coming students in getting hostels and solving administration mess which usually occurs because of weak educational background. Our organization always guides the students for the better future and resolves issues, no matter, how hard the situation is.”
So, this is our youth who have burned their midnight oil not just for their career but also for the upcoming generation to leave a legacy of senseless efforts behind them.
I, still, remember my first day at Punjab University when few female members of Baloch Council found me after a tiresome search of hostel. They gave warm welcome, encouraged me and promised to help in every area. This, first, perplexed me, as despite studying in elite institutions, I had never met such zeal and commitment to task which is, solely, aimed at helping others.
To conclude, the eligible students must apply, especially the female ones, in order to get benefits from this initiative to its maximum level. I, assure, that no one will get disappointment at any stage as the team of both councils, comprising of dedicated students, are working day and night to help people out. More importantly, students will find a way to express their inner talent along with the experience of all round development i.e. intellectual, physical, moral, sensible and social one by appropriately using this opportunity. It is a no miss opportunity; so, apply for this as soon as possible.
The tentative date for admissions is likely to be 27th of August.
Writer is a Student of BS Honors Political Science, Punjab University, Lahore
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agrees with them.
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