Zahid Hussain Khan, Karachi
Updated: August 24, 2020 08:19 AM GMT
Anthony Naveed (blue jacket) leads a delegation of minorities in a meeting with Karachi University vice-chancellor Khalid Mahmood Iraqi. (Photo supplied)
A group lobbying for the rights of non-Muslims has called for a special quota for minority students at a top government-run university in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi.
A four-member delegation from the National Lobbying Delegation for Minority Rights visited the main campus of the University of Karachi and met with its vice-chancellor Khalid Mahmood Iraqi at the weekend.
Anthony Naveed, a Catholic lawmaker from Sindh, led the delegation, which also included Hindu activists Ashothama Lohana and Jai Parkash Moorani. They told Iraqi that the Punjab government had a 2 percent admission quota for religious minorities.
“It would be a great if Karachi University also fixed a quota for minority communities,” the group said.
“Minority communities are unable to find top positions in public and private sectors because they lack resources and access to higher education in Pakistan. A quota would gradually uplift minority communities.”
The reserved seats would encourage youngsters from minority communities in Karachi and Sindh province to pursue higher education, added the group.
“The matter will be taken up at the relevant platform and hopefully Karachi University will be offering a special quota by 2021,” Iraqi told the minority group.
The university would also like to arrange scholarships and financial aid for them, he added.
Naveed said he would request the Sindh government to allocate funds for scholarships from the relevant ministry.
In May, Punjab became the first province to set a quota for students from religious minorities in higher education institutes in a measure long sought by Pakistani activists.
The provincial cabinet on April 30 approved a 2 percent quota for non-Muslims in universities under its Punjab Minorities Empowerment Package.
Christians are the largest non-Muslim minority in Punjab and make up 2.6 percent of the province’s population of 110 million, according to the 2017 national census.
“Our youth belonging to minorities have been facing issues in getting high-end jobs under the 5 percent quota because of a lack of highly educated candidates. This will help them in getting better education and securing a better future for their families,” Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar tweeted.
“Every segment of our society has served Pakistan well and it is our responsibility to ensure their welfare and, inshallah, we won't fail our minorities.”
….as we enter the last months of 2021, we are asking readers like you to help us keep UCA News free.
For the last 40 years, UCA News has remained the most trusted and independent Catholic news and information service from Asia. Every week, we publish nearly 100 news reports, feature stories, commentaries, podcasts and video broadcasts that are exclusive and in-depth, and developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes.
Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to – South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.
And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters who cover 23 countries in south, southeast, and east Asia. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don’t have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.
With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.