Gov’t making efforts to secure Afghan refugees’ future through quality education, skills

The government has recently announced more than 3,000 scholarships for the Afghan students in various professional-education fields including medicine, agriculture, biology, information technology, chemistry, economics, engineering and management sciences

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LAHORE, After Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, a huge Afghan population has fled war and sought refuge in Pakistan as a result since then most of them had stayed, married and raised their children in the country.

The successive governments in Pakistan have never left these refugees from the neighbouring Muslim country alone, and had always provided them with basic needs of life. They were provided with shelter, food, health and education facilities for their new generations.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government both in centre as well as in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province had made special arrangements for imparting not only quality education to the Afghan youth, but also modern-day skills to make them able to earn a respectable living wherever they go from here.

In order to develop human resource and create goodwill among the people of Afghanistan, the Pakistan government has played a pivotal role in bringing up its youth in a skilled and professional manner, while developing people-to-people contacts between the two neighbouring Muslim countries.

According to the available data of Higher Education Commission (HEC), the government of Pakistan is offering hundreds of thousand ‘Allama Muhammad Iqbal Scholarships’ to Afghan youth for their capacity building through imparting quality education.

The government has recently announced more than 3,000 scholarships for the Afghan students in various professional-education fields including medicine, agriculture, biology, information technology, chemistry, economics, engineering and management sciences.

According to the scholarship scheme for the Afghan students, besides provision of the university tuition fee for undergraduate and graduation programmes including BS, MS/MPhil and PhD, all necessary allowances are also provided to them. These allowances cover subsistence, boarding, books purchase, etc., according to the document.

The purpose of the scholarships scheme was to provide the Afghan students with the same educational opportunities which are being provided to the Pakistani students, the document says.

Hazrat-Ullah, an Afghan student benefiting from the programme at Allama Iqbal University (AIOU) that the students from his country were getting quality education in Pakistan.

He believes that they will play an important role in enhancing goodwill between the two brotherly countries after they reach their homeland on completion of their education in Pakistan.

These Afghan students are performing well in their academic studies in Pakistan. Mehboob-ur-Rehman, another Afghan student, had secured second position in matriculation examination, organised by Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Mardan in 2020. He had secured 1090 out of 1100 marks.

Mehboob-ur-Rehman said he was thankful to the Government of Pakistan and local teachers who had helped him in making that great achievement.

He said his father was a fruit-seller in a local market, and he secured a position in the board examination only because of the opportunities provided to him by the KP government.

He said the teachers and staff of the educational institutions had never differentiated between the Pakistani and Afghan students while imparting education and skills to them.

The educated youth are the real future of Afghanistan, and they will play a vital role in maintaining peace and rebuilding their country, he added.

A 49-year-old Afghan teacher, Aqeela Asifi, had also won a United Nations (UN) Nansen Award in 2015 at the Kot Chandana refugee village in Mianwali district of Punjab province.

She had won the award for her dedication to teaching more than a thousand Afghan refugee girls at the school established by the Pakistan government through their primary education programme.

An official report on Refugees Education Programme (REP) in Pakistan shows that around 15 schools, located in different areas in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, with an estimated enrollment of about 10,000 Afghan students from grade 1 to 12, are making all-out efforts to secure the future of Afghanistan through quality education and modern skills.

Talking to APP, Hafiz Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, Special Representative to the Prime Minister on Religious Harmony and Middle East, urged the Muslim countries to shun their differences, resolve their issues amicably, exchange their expertise in different sectors,

and extend cooperation in science and technology fields and collectively address issues and crises being confronted by the Muslim Ummah.

He said providing the Afghan students with quality education and skills were a great programme which would bring the brotherly Islamic countries closer in the long run.

The Islamic scholar has called upon Pakistan and Afghanistan leadership to keep a close eye on the negative elements that were trying to fuel tensions and spread misunderstandings between the two countries.

He said history was witness to the fact that Pakistan had always included Afghanistan in all opportunities for progress and prosperity with an open heart.

He expressed the hope that the Afghan leadership and people, particularly youth, would play a key role in bringing about prosperity in their country.

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