By Rafi Khan
It is the 34th day that students of Ex-FATA & Balochistan are protesting against the cancellation of HEC Indigenous Medical Scholarships & Seats in the extremely cold weather of Islamabad. But the government is still showing numbness. How strange it is for a society where students are forced to go on protests & finally hunger strikes instead of getting education.
This project was started back in Musharaf time for the less developed areas. It was offering 29 medical seats along with scholarships. In which 14 seats were for Ex-FATA & 15 for Balochistan. In 2018 when PTI came into power, Prime Minister Imran Khan increased it, to 265 medical seats & 500 scholarships. But again every year students had to record protests for weeks to get them implemented. This year again, the same happens. Legally everything has been in the favor of students including Resolution 433 of the Senate which ensures this project till 2022. But still, things are unclear.
Remember these students have been working hard for 18-20 years just to get their dream of white-coat. Unfortunately, they are now in freezing temp!
On 29 December 2021, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) sent its proposal sheet to the Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) after the huge pressure of 28 days protest. In this sheet HEC has given two options to the PMC for the solution of this issue;
Allocation of 265 seats in different public sector medical colleges as the previous year.
Provision of funds from Benazir Income Support or the funds of the PMC for these scholarships.
While in response, the PMC has its rigid attitude calling it the domain of the HEC. The PMC considers the HEC as a hurdle in this process & vice versa.
This cycle of tactics is repeated every year. Students of Ex-FATA & Balochistan have to go through these sleepless & frosty nights for getting their education. They knock on every door.
Hopes die down when you see the attitude of your representatives when they turn a deaf ear to you. We must encourage those who are on the ground for getting their rights.
Peace comes from Education as it is a light where darkness Ends!
Ex-Fata & Baloch Students have decided that we do not go to darkness further, but we will go to Light.
Just for light, they are in the freezing darkness of Islamabad for more than 6 weeks.
We request our Prime Minister Imran Khan to pay his kind attention to this grave issue. Education being the basic right must not be subjected to the vicious rounds of protests every year.
Rafi Khan is a student of Khyber Medical College Peshawar.