The vice chancellors (VCs) of all government universities have
been told by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to run their affairs through
a fund-raising programme as a 50 per cent reduction in the budget of commission
is on cards, City 42
According to the report, HEC has issued a new five-point
agenda for public-sector universities, wherein the VCs have been directed to
run the institutions from their own resources.
They have also been told to seek donations from philanthropists
and alumni besides attracting students from foreign countries.
Several vital developmental projects related to
universities, including the construction of new campuses and faculty
development, have also been halted.
As many as 0.6 million Pakistanis “will lose their jobs by
July 2019”, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Mohammad Zubair Umar
has claimed amid questions being raised over the government’s efforts for the
uplifting of the country’s economy.
“Unemployment is rising by the day and it is expected that
by end of the fiscal year, 600,000 Pakistanis will have lost their jobs,” Zubair
said in a statement issued after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government
completed 200 days in centre.
Due to the poor economy, he added, more than four million people “will also go below the poverty line”.
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The claims, however, were refuted by Minister of State for
Revenue Hammad Azhar, who termed Zubair’s statement “the worst case of
inaccurate numbers and half-truths”.
“Pure conjecture. With private sector borrowing up and
exporters gearing up for higher productions and foreign investors showing
unprecedented interest, Pakistan is readjusting for investment and
employment-led growth,” Azhar said.
He further stated the most comprehensive and consolidated
poverty alleviation programme was being developed by the government and there
was no truth to Zubair’s statement regarding millions of people going below the
With the row between members of the ruling PTI and PML-N
continuing, The Current reached out to a Lahore-based political
economist and public policy professional Rahema Hasan for the validity of
either side’s claims.
“People may not be losing their jobs by the end of the
fiscal year, but it’s the number of people entering the labour force annually,
which will add to the unemployment rate,” she said.
“Unemployment figures are high for Pakistan, but estimations
need to be made on concurrent information and not perceptions,” she said and
added that such claims could discourage private sector investment confidence
and put pressure on public resources.
On the other hand, the government needs to put down
estimations of how much employment is expected out of the investment coming to
Pakistan; for example, 1,000 jobs per every $100 million invested in the
agriculture sector, Rahema said further.
“Perception is a key to economic decision making, however,
necessarily based on incomplete and unverified information, it is equated with
reality for most practical purposes and guides human behavior,” she said.
Rahema was of the view that mere assumptions and political
gimmicks could have devastating effects on economic decision-making.