Karachi, February 27, 2018 (PPI-OT): The Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan launched a documentary entitled “The Real AfPak Fighting Terrorism through Knowledge” during a ceremony held at Aiwan-e-Sadr in Islamabad here on Tuesday. Mamnoon Hussain, President Islamic Republic of Pakistan was chief guest of the ceremony, while Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC and Omer Zakhilwal, Ambassador of Afghanistan to Pakistan along with a large number of vice chancellors, faculty members and Afghan students were also present on the occasion.
The documentary by Ms. Sameera Aziz, a Saudi media figure reveals the co-curricular and extra-curricular activities of Afghan students pursuing their education in Pakistani higher education institutions under the scholarship programme. It includes interviews of Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed and the Afghan students with regard to the academic opportunity available to the youth of brotherly Islamic country under the programme.
Speaking on the occasion, Mamnoon Hussain said that people of Pakistan and Afghanistan share mutual respect and affection owing to blood, religious and cultural bonds as well as regional proximity. The scholarship programme is a testimony to the mutual closeness. He said students of Afghanistan are extended the facilities being enjoyed by Pakistani students in the country’s universities. He hoped that the Afghan students will not only help compensate the losses caused by terrorism and wars but will also work for the well-being of humanity.
The President stated that Pakistan and Afghanistan have lost many lives and suffered huge losses due to terrorism and wars. “Pakistan has borne casualties of over 70,000 souls apart from immeasurable infrastructural damages”. He stressed that Pakistan and Afghanistan need to develop mutual trust and foil the conspiracies of enemies who create misunderstandings between the two countries. Referring to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said CPEC will bring educational and trade opportunities to not only Pakistan but also Afghanistan. He advised the Afghan students to prepare themselves for future challenges. He stated that Pakistan strongly believes in the development of Afghanistan.
In his welcome address earlier, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed said the award of scholarships to Afghan students under the programme reaffirms Government of Pakistan’s commitment to helping the Afghan brethren overcome the challenges caused by terrorism and years of strife. He informed the audience that after the first phase of Allama Iqbal 3000 Scholarships to Afghan Students, second phase of the programme has been launched.
He maintained that zero semesters are being arranged for the students before placing them in their respective programmes. He hoped the students will go back to serve their country after completion of their studies. “You are now the ambassadors of Afghanistan in Pakistan, however you will play the role of ambassadors of Pakistan in Afghanistan once you complete you education,” he emphasised. “Education is the solution to all problems of developing countries. We have had enough of destruction. Let us work together and focus on construction,” he stated.
The Chairman stated that the main objective of scholarship programme is to strengthen people-to-people contact between Pakistan and Afghanistan. He said the programme covers undergraduate as well as PhD and Masters studies in addition to training of Afghan faculty. He said solution to all ills lies in promotion of education, adding that spreading education is the real investment that strengthens bonds between the two countries.
Omer Zakhilwal thanked the Government of Pakistan for extending scholarships to Afghan students. He said Pakistan has remarkably contributed to development of state institutions in Afghanistan. “I would like to thank Pakistan for generous hospitality it extends to Afghan students,” he added. Referring to the documentary, he said the award of scholarship is not only a fight against terrorism, but also against mistrust, misunderstanding, isolation and lack of progress. He urged the Afghan students to work hard and go back to serve Afghanistan. “Today, Afghan future leaders study with future leaders of Pakistan,” he added.
The Government of Pakistan has initiated different programmes under the “Committee for Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of Afghanistan (CRRA)”. The 3000 scholarships programme is one of them meant for Afghan students to pursue undergraduate studies in Pakistani universities. The project was initially started by Inter Provincial Coordination Division in 2009. Later on, it was transferred to HEC for execution in 2015. The project envisages strengthening of bilateral relationships, and development of human resource and professional linkages between the two brotherly states.
After success of the first phase of this project, the Prime Minister of Pakistan has approved another 3000 scholarships for Afghan nationals at a capital cost of Rs. 7364.735 million. Under this scheme, 500 MBBS, 100 BDS, 600 Engineering and 1200 general disciplines scholarships will be awarded to Afghan students at undergraduate level. Furthermore, 400 MS and 200 PhD scholarships will also be awarded to Afghan nationals. In addition to this, short trainings of 3-6 months will also be given to 120 Afghan officials.
So far, 294 students have arrived, but the total number will reach 750 by March 2018. Apart from providing hostels, security, food and pick and drop facilities, a zero semester has also been arranged at Institute of Management Sciences, Peshawar; University of Haripur; COMSATS Institute of information Technology, Abbottabad Campus; and COMSATS Institute of information Technology, Lahore Campus. These students will be enrolled in public and private sector universities in different fields of study including Medical Sciences, Engineering, Business Administration, Computer Science, Arts and Humanities, and Social Sciences.
For more information, contact:
Higher Education Commission, Pakistan (HEC)
Sector H-9, Islamabad
Tel: +92-51-90402404, +92-51-90402412