By Umar Khan
In 2006, President General Musharraf during his tenure allocated a project for students of FATA and Balochistan.
In this project, HEC would conduct a test and on the basis of the test, 29 pass students would be given scholarships by HEC. Some time later, the project was revised and the number of seats was increased from 29 to 265 seats.
After some time, HEC reduced these seats from 265 to 29 seats due to lack of funds. Barrister Babar Awan took the students’ case and won the case and once again increased the number of seats to 265. In the past, there were three seats in different medical colleges for the students of Ex-fata and Balochistan, but Prime Minister Imran Khan increased the number of seats from three to four.
Once again this year, the Pakistan Medical Commission has reduced the medical seats of Ex-FATA and Balochistan. HEC is ready to provide funds but Pakistan Medical Commission is not ready to provide the seats. Like other years, this time too, a few months ago, the HEC conducted a test for students from FATA and Balochistan.
After some time, when the result of the test came out, it was found out that the Pakistan Medical Commission has reduced the medical reserved seats from 265 to only 29. The Ex-Fata reserved seats reduced from 132 seats to only 14 seats, while the Balochistan seats are reduced from 133 seats to 15 seats only. This caused trouble for the students of FATA and Balochistan. Meanwhile, some students met with government officials but the PMC did not change its decision.
Many students had been protesting in Islamabad for several days after the verdict and now the protest has taken the form of a sit-in in front of the Pakistan Medical Commission office. Asif, a tribal student, said that when we, including Senator Usman Kakar, met the PMC director, he told us that it was not a matter of the federal government but it is the matter of the provinces, so you people had to resolve the issue with the provincial officials.
A student named Wajid told that the next day some students, including a member of National Assembly Mohsin Dawar, reached the PMC office where the MNA emphasised to resolve the issue but the director repeated the same words which he told Senator Usman Kakar. when Mohsin Dawar asked for written evidence of the abolition of the reserved seats, the officer said he had no written evidence.
A student named Aman said that we have none of the problems with HEC because HEC will pay funds to different medical colleges but the whole issue has been made by Pakistan Medical Commission, as the PMC decided that they will allocate only 29 seats for both Ex-FATA and Balochistan. He further said that FATA and Balochistan have been lagging behind in the field of education for a long time. Therefore, we demand from the government that they should not keep us in ignorance any more and resolve our issue as soon as possible.