Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has expressed concern over the financial crunch faced by public sector universities due to the reduction in the budget for higher education by the government.
In a statement issued by the party, the PPP chairman “condemned” huge cuts in the higher education budget, compelling the public sector universities to take loans from the private sector to run their affairs.
Bhutto Zardari noted that 104 universities are experiencing the worst- financial crisis in their history.
Of the required budget of Rs158bn, the government “was not ready to allocate even half of it”, he said.
Bhutto Zardari pointed out that some of the country’s most prominent universities, including the University of Peshawar, are not even able to pay salaries and pensions to their staff, let alone funding research and higher education.
“The government has demolished the country’s economy … pushed millions below the poverty line, overseen sky-rocketing inflation and price hikes, unleashed unemployment, and dragged the country into a social, economic and political quagmire,” he said.
The PPP chairman called for the immediate release of funds required for the smooth functioning of public sector universities and expressed solidarity with the students, teachers and staff of the universities.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb said in a statement that the only way to bring the country out of the economic mess is for Prime Minister Imran Khan to resign.
“Now only Imran Khan’s resignation can pull the country out of these one-after-the-other crisis and economic disaster. If Imran had an ounce of empathy for the poor and suffering Pakistanis, he must … accept his inability … and step down for the welfare of the people,” she said.
Aurangzeb said that this “circus of drama and lies” would definitely damage the country beyond repair.
“Running Pakistan is beyond this government,” she said.
Aurangzeb regretted that despite early warning by the PML-N, the prime minister had not ordered any search of the mills owned by Minister for National Food Security Khusro Bakhtiar and former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) secretary-general Jahangir Tareen, alleging that this gave them enough time to move their “hoarded stocks, wipe their records, and cover up the tracks of their crimes and corruption”.
She said that it had been 24 hours since she demanded the search of the mills, “but because Imran Khan is implicit in this crime worth billions, he has not done anything”.
Aurangzeb challenged the prime minister to search and make public all records of sugar exported from the sugar mills owned by Tareen and Bakhtiar.
“In just 16 months, Pakistan has become the most expensive and most impoverished country,” she said.
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