HEC Organises Pak-Afghan Cultural Event – Payam-e-Subh

No One Can Subjugate Afghan Nation: President Alvi

Islamabad, April 29, 2019: "Pakistan wants peace and prosperity in Afghanistan and will continue extending its all-out support in its rebuilding process." President of Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi stated this on Monday while addressing the Pak-Afghan cultural event, Payam-e-Subh organised by Higher Education Commission (HEC) for Afghan students pursuing higher education in different universities of Pakistan.

The President said, "You are the elite and privileged ones. You have been given the opportunity to study in Pakistan. Go back to your country with better education and skills, as it is your responsibility to rebuild your country."

Dr. Alvi said that Afghanistan has gone through a lot of miseries, however the Afghan nation has proved that nobody can subjugate them. He underlined that Pakistan and Afghanistan enjoy strong brotherly relations and the two countries have always stood by each other. "Nobody can defeat the friendly bonds between the two countries," he affirmed.

The President regretted that the two countries have, unfortunately, suffered at the hands of poverty, rivalries, extremism and terrorism. "Let's act together against these common enemies. Afghanistan deserves peace and a huge rebuilding process awaits you. Pakistan will always be there to support you."

Appreciating HEC for organising the Pak-Afghan cultural event, he said cultural events provide opportunities of cultural exchanges which improve communication among nations. On the occasion, the President launched the logo of Allama Iqbal Scholarship for Afghan Students, an initiative of the Government of Pakistan.

In his welcome address, Dr. Tariq Banuri, Chairman HEC stated that the Allama Iqbal Scholarship for Afghan Students not only provide opportunity to Afghan youth to study in top Pakistani universities, but it is also a means to promote diversity on campuses. Education is incomplete without exposure of students to diverse cultures, he said, adding that the programme also helps building people-to-people contacts between Pakistan and Afghanistan. He noted that Pakistan and Afghanistan share religious as well as cultural roots and the Pak-Afghan cultural event reflects commonness of the two societies.

Mr. Rahimullah Qatra, Charge' d' Affaires, Embassy of Afghanistan in Pakistan said, "We are grateful to the Government of Pakistan and HEC for awarding scholarships to Afghan students, as the programme encourages Afghan students study in Pakistan and become ambassadors of Pakistan in Afghanistan." He said Afghanistan, being proud of its cordial relations with Pakistan, is committed to expanding these bonds. He said Afghanistan acknowledges and thanks Pakistan for accommodating its refugees.

Mr. Zahid Nasrullah Khan, Ambassador of Pakistan to Afghanistan underscored that Pakistan accords high priority to deepen people-to-people contacts between the two nations. He said the Government of Pakistan approved 100 scholarships for Afghan students on the recommendation of Pakistan Embassy in Afghanistan and 17 per cent of them are specified for female students, keeping in view the low literary rate among Afghan women. As the Afghan youth are the wealth and dividend of Afghanistan, so investing on them through Allama Iqbal Scholarships is a great contribution to human capital development for the country, he concluded.

The Government of Pakistan has initiated different programmes under the "Committee for Reconstruction & Rehabilitation of Afghanistan (CRRA)". The Allama Iqbal Scholarship for Afghan Students, a 3000-scholarship programme, is one of them meant for Afghan students to pursue undergraduate studies in Pakistani universities. The project envisages strengthening of bilateral relationships, and development of human resource and professional linkages between the two brotherly states. Currently, around 2000 Afghan students are acquiring education in Pakistani higher learning institutions.

Apart from providing hostels, security, food and pick and drop facilities, a zero semester has also been arranged at Institute of Management Sciences, Peshawar; University of Haripur; COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Abbottabad Campus; and COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Lahore Campus. These students will be enrolled in public and private sector universities in different fields of study including Medical Sciences, Engineering, Business Administration, Computer Science, Arts & Humanities, and Social Sciences.

The Pak-Afghan cultural event was also attended by a delegation from Afghanistan along with around 1000 Afghan students. Renowned Pakistani artistes including Tina Sani, Bakhtiyar Khattak, Gul Panra, and Laila Khan enthralled the audience on the occasion. 

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