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Oxford launches new Pakistan programme

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The University of Oxford has launched the Oxford Pakistan Programme (OPP) — the first initiative of its kind through which a concerted effort is being made to generate momentum on various Pakistan-related activities at the varsity.

The OPP launched its constituent initiatives on Thursday at Lady Margaret Hall (LMH) — situated at the University of Oxford — where both ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai studied for their undergraduate degrees.

The ceremony was attended by around 200 distinguished guests, including Malala, High Commissioner for Pakistan to UK Moazzam Ahmad Khan, MP Naz Shah, MP Yasmin Qureshi, and businessman Sohaib Abbasi, a statement from the programme read.

Meanwhile, senior academics and administrators from within the University of Oxford were also in attendance — including Professor Christine Gerrard (Principal of LMH), Helen Mountfield QC (Principal of Mansfield College), Dr Saira Sheikh (Academic Registrar), Dr Samina Khan (Director of Undergraduate Admissions & Outreach), Dr Nadia Pollini (Director of Graduate Admissions & Recruitment) and Liesl Elder (Chief Development Officer).

According to the statement, the OPP has three core objectives:

  • To address the underrepresentation of Pakistani and British Pakistani students at Oxford
  • To raise the academic profile of Pakistan and Pakistan-related areas of interest amongst Oxford’s faculty
  • To promote the global connectivity of Pakistani academic institutions by promoting academic exchange between them and Oxford

Dr Talha J Pirzada, a co-founder of the OPP, revealed that the programme has secured commitments of just under £1million over the next five years to fund various initiatives as part of the OPP, including a scholarship programme for graduate students at Oxford of Pakistani origin.

He explained that over 20 students from Pakistan each year are unable to take up graduate offers to study at Oxford due to a lack of funding, while there are only 13 undergraduate and 45 graduate students from Pakistan at the University, despite over 60% of Pakistan’s population of 220 million people being under the age of 30.

Dr Pirzada announced that the OPP would be offering up to three scholarships in its initial round, with the first set of OPP graduate scholars commencing study at LMH in October 2022, allowing these students to take advantage of Oxford’s world-class facilities and teaching programme, as well as its plethora of wider academic opportunities.

He also announced the launch of the OPP’s Visiting Fellow Programmes, including a programme developed in partnership with the Malala Fund, the Government of Sindh and non-profit Durbeen, to provide opportunities for Pakistani academics to take advantage of Oxford’s research facilities and global academic network. 

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Saudi Arabia rewards brave police officer ASP Shehrbano with a royal pension.

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Sources claim that when the two met at the Saudi embassy, where the ambassador was entertaining the courageous female officer, the diplomat gave ASP Shehrbano the information.

The Saudi ambassador praised the police officer’s bravery and assured her that her family’s travel expenses to Saudi Arabia as a royal guest will be covered by the Saudi royal family.

He gave the ASP high marks for her poise and selfless dedication to her work in managing an agitated environment.

One day before, the Gulberg ASP visited the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Syed Asim Munir, at General Headquarters.

The head of the army acknowledged the significant contribution Pakistani women made to society as a whole.

He was cited as adding, “Since independence, Pakistani women have made a name for themselves both at home and abroad thanks to their skill, perseverance, and determination.

Additionally, ASP Shehrbano’s name was suggested by IG Punjab Usman Anwar for the Quied e Azam Police award.

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36% of fresh faces make it to the National Assembly.

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Following the general elections of this year, a record 36% of new members have joined the National Assembly.

There are now 96 new legislators that have been elected to the assembly out of 265 total. In the general elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) has elected the most number of fresh faces as Independents.

Of the new faces, eleven PPP and MQM members, as well as fifteen PML-N members, have become MNAs for the first time. The IPP’s Abdul Aleem Khan and Awn Chaudhry were elected to the National Assembly for the first time.

Ataullah Tarar of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, Mir Jamal Khan Raisani, the party’s youngest member, was also elected from Balochistan for the first time and made it to the lower house.

Sher Afzal Marwat, Latif Khosa, and Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, who is supported by the PTI, are some of the fresh faces. In the last parliament, Shandana Gulzar had a reserved seat; however, this time, she was elected to a general seat.

Arshad Vohra, Syed Mustafa Kamal, and Rauf Siddiqui of the MQM were also elected to the National Assembly for the first time.

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The government declares March 2 a public holiday.

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In the province capital, Madhu Lal Hussain’s 436th annual three-day urs festivities will get underway on Saturday.

Secretary Auqaf Dr. Tahir Raza will execute the customary chador laying on the saint’s grave to kick off the urs festivities.

On this occasion, ulema Mushaikh, members of the Religious Committee, and a sizable crowd of devotees will take part.

For the Urs gift, the Auqaf Department has set up Rs 459,000. The agency and local police put together impenetrable security plans for the guests.

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