A legislative body has turned down a bill which sought to allocate separate quota for minorities in all government and private universities. This bill was tabled by Member of National Assembly Asiya Nasir, who hails from Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazal.
On Wednesday, March 21, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Federal Education refused to give a green signal to this bill titled ‘The Minorities Access to Higher Education Bill’. MNA Asiya had sought a five per cent admission quota for students hailing from the religious minorities. This quota would apply to all higher education institutions including public and private sectors.
Asiya Nasir expounded that the proposed law was chalked out bearing articles 36 and 37 of the Constitution in mind. These articles confirm preservation of legitimate rights of the non-Muslim Pakistanis, whilst promote social justice. She had maintained in the bill that the law being proposed was corresponding to national and international resolutions.
On the other hand, representatives of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) who were present during the meeting opposed the proposed law. Rebuffing the proposal they maintained that the idea was contrary to the spirit of merit.
Furthermore they claimed that the proposed law was in contradiction to the Higher Education Commission’s Model University Ordinance no. CXX of 2002, which reads: “University shall be open to all persons of either gender and of whatever religion, race, creed, class, colour or domicile and no person shall be denied the privileges of the university on the grounds of religion, race, caste, creed, class, colour or domicile.”