Friday, July 6, 2012
Punjab Government Criticized For Violating Scholarship Criteria Rules for Minorities
By Johnson Gill
Special to ASSIST News Service
TOBA TEK SINGH, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- Dozens of Christian college students, their parents and Christian leaders, held a press conference today (Friday, July 6, 2012) in a local hotel to protest about severe violations of merit to distribute scholarships 2011-2012 by the Punjab government among the students of minorities’ communities in Toba Tek Singh.
“Dozens of Christian students from Tehsil, Toba Tek Singh applied for the scholarships and a local member parliament from ruling party of PMLN recommended that students secured 80-85 percent marks in their last exams. However, scholarship winning students from Tehsil Toba Tek Singh have not been properly scrutinized.
“Students who are regular, poor and had secured 80 to 85 percent marks and even granted laptops on merit, have been deprived from scholarships.”
Ayoub Anjum, a former district council member and also a labor leader stated that this violation of the rules was “a murder of merit that is not a policy of the Chief Minister of Punjab.”
He then urged the Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif “to take notice” of the situation and added that this was why the parents of the affected students and Christian leaders of Toba Tek Singh were protesting against what had occurred.
Fr. Simon Khurshid, a Catholic Priest, also spoke at the press conference and said, “The Church has organized a team to motivate and encourage the bright students from rural and urban areas to apply for the scholarships but not a single bright student has been granted scholarship. This kind of response towards Toba Tek Singh students has created great disappointment among students.”
He went on to talk about “poor students, whose parents are trapped in the vicious circle of bonded labor and who have managed, with great difficulty, to send their children to colleges/universities,” were shocked with what had occurred.
“The act of the government officials of the concerned department has created a bad name for Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif and his party who is working tirelessly day and night for the common good in the province.”
Sadaqat Sardar, Area Coordinator, Caritas-Pakistan, demanded that the Chief Minister grants scholarships to the “affected students of merit who applied in March 2012” and to also “set up an inquiry commission to find out the violations of rules and merit in scholarships for minorities students.”
Students then showed their results to the reporters attending, and also held up copies of forms submitted to Punjab Government with recommendations made by Main Muhammad Rafiq, MPA.
Later, a procession was organized by the students, parents and Christian leaders and social workers in the streets outside the hotel.
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