Recently a meeting concerning introduction of a fixed quota for minority students aiming to get enrolled in public colleges and universities in Punjab province, was conducted. Punjab’s Higher Education Minister Syed Raza Ali Gillani chaired this meeting, and expressed favor for the idea saying that minorities are already grieved because of low representation in government sector. Introduction of quota system for minority students may redress their grievance to some extent, he said.
For this purpose a special committee was constituted, the committee was assigned with the task to chalk out proposal regarding introduction of minority quotas into the Punjab higher education system. Other members of the committee who were present at this meeting included, MPA Kanji Ram, Punjab’s Minister for Human Rights and Minorities’ Affairs Khalil Tahir Sandhu, Additional Secretary of Punjab’s Higher Education Department Ms Maryam Kiyani, representative of Punjab Directorate of Public Instruction Nusrat Jamal, Muhammad Anees from Punjab Higher Education Commission.
Dr. Mohammad Ali Maud represented University of Engineering and Technology, Muhammad Shahid Jamil from Lahore College for Women University; Muhammad Danial from the University of the Punjab and Additional Registrar of Government College University Dr Shaukat Ali were also present. Asif Aqeel a freelancer and social activist represented the Christian community.
Education Minister said that this step will craft appositive image of Pakistan. Ms Maryam Kiyani infirmed the committee members that national and provincial assemblies have already expressed favor for a quota for minority students. In contrast Dr. Mohammad Ali Maud said that none of the government’s educational institutions discriminate against students based on their faith.
Asif Aqeel while referring to 2016’s Annual Report of the Punjab Public Service Commission, that 43 per cent of posts reserved for religious minorities were vacant. “An education quota is the prerequisite for effective implementation of job representation,” Aqeel maintained. He also referred to Article 36 of the Constitution which maintains that protecting rights and interests of minorities was responsibility of the state. The article also bestows due representation of religious minorities in federal and provincial services. Asif Aqeel said that provisions of Article 36 have not been implemented yet.