Sindh Universities Amendment Law: SHC allows Pasban to amend main petition

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Karachi: Sindh High Court (SHC) here Tuesday allowed Pasban Democratic Party President Altaf Shakoor to amend their main petition against the Sindh Universities (Amendment) Bill 2018.
Talking to media at the media square outside the Sindh High Court premises, Pasban lawyer Irfan Aziz said that when we had challenged the bill at that time it was just a proposed bill. Later, it was passed into Act. We then filed application under the rules to allow us to amend our main petition so that we can also bring the Act on record. Today, the honorable court, comprised of Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar & Justice Agha Faisal, allowed our application and permitted us to change the petition memo to update our petition to challenge the Act.
However, Pasban Democratic Party President Altaf Shakoor said originally we had challenged the Bill and later when it was passed into Act, our lawyer Irfan Aziz had filed an application to allow us to amend our main petition and today our request was granted.
He said we will continue to raise voice against conspiracies being hatched against higher education in Sindh province. He said through our petition we are fighting that the rulers should stop playing with the future of higher education in the province. He said there are 24 public universities in Sindh and the future of their students, who are also the future of our Sindh, is at the stake as the rulers want to destroy this sector like they have destroyed the school and college sector in Sindh. He said the ruling party wants to run the universities in the same manner in which it is running the Matriculation and Intermediate boards in Sindh, and Pasban would foil this conspiracy. He said we firmly stand with the students of this province and their future.
However, Pasban lawyer further told media that when this Bill was tabled in the assembly, it went divided on linguistic and ethnic grounds. He said if this law is implemented it would further divide the people of Sindh as this bill is aimed at to create rifts instead of uniting people. He said in the 21st century the universities could not be run with the laws of the 18th century. He said the rulers of Sindh are showing a colonial mentality and they want to keep higher institutions in their tight grip. He said the standard of university education could not be raised through such bills.
He said during last 20 years the influence of provincial government over public universities is rising and resultantly the education standard of these institutions is falling. He said it is necessary that the universities should be kept away from the interference of the government so that they could improve the level of their education and research.
Regarding the universities act, he said this act spiritually, administratively and financially differs from the acts by which the top 500 universities of the world, the top 200 universities of Asia and the top 200 universities of Europe are administered. This act deprives the university faculty of their intellectual, administrative, and curricular freedom.
He said this act provides means and tools for the external non-academic and political bodies to govern the scholarly life, the administrative affairs and the professional growth of the faculty and staff. It minimizes societal participation in the organic growth of academe and prohibits interference free interaction between the academe and free society. This act limits possibilities of shared governance and limits the right of academic independence.
He said on one hand, the provincial government seeks administrative independence from the center and on the other hand it seeks control of institutions and organizations that have nothing to do with the provincial government. This act paves the way for the political differences and fights to influence the academic world, he concluded.

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