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HEC launches 3rd phase of 4,500 scholarships for Afghan students

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ISLAMABAD, Nov 2 (APP): Caretaker Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Madad Ali Sindhi Thursday said the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has launched the 3rd phase of Allama Muhammad Iqbal Scholarships Programme for Afghan nationals.

He said under this new phase, 4,500 scholarships will be awarded to Afghan students over a period of three years to study in top-ranked Pakistani universities.

He was addressing as chief guest at the graduation ceremony for 281 Afghan students who have completed their studies under Phase-II of the Programme at HEC Secretariate.

The students have graduated from 25 universities across Pakistan and received their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in various disciplines including Medicine, Engineering, Agriculture, Management and Computer Science. As many as 6000 Afghan students have been awarded scholarships so far during the first two phases of the Scholarship Project.

The minister emphasized that this moment is the start of a new chapter in their lives. He asked them to embrace an increased sense of responsibility upon their return to Afghanistan. He urged them to identify the challenges faced by Afghanistan and utilize their intellectual capabilities to seek solutions.

He emphasized the vital need for capacity building of Afghan students and faculty. He also acknowledged the crucial role of HEC in the provision of higher education opportunities for Afghan students via scholarships in Pakistan.

In his welcome address, Chairman HEC Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed congratulated the students on their achievements, commending them for their hard work and dedication.

He specifically appreciated the Afghan students who secured first positions in their respective degree programmes and acknowledged all the students for standing strong against numerous challenges as well.

Recognizing the close ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan as neighbouring countries, he emphasized the responsibility Pakistan bears in supporting and aiding Afghanistan, referring to the two nations as brothers. He urged the students, whom he described as smart and hardworking, to see themselves as Pakistani ambassadors and catalysts for their home country’s development and prosperity.

The chairman also highlighted the importance of networking in career development, and encouraged the students to harness their potential, reminding them that Pakistan is their second home.

He underlined that Afghanistan deserves to flourish and become a developed nation, and the students present play a significant role in this transformation. He applauded the Vice Chancellors for fostering an environment that nurtures bright minds, ready to contribute effectively to their nation upon their return.

Speaking on the occasion, Special Representative on Afghanistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Asif Durrani reflected on the significant impact of the past, where many Afghan alumni who pursued higher education opportunities in Pakistan
are now actively contributing to various sectors in Afghanistan.

He extended his congratulations to the Afghan graduates and expressed hope that their return to Afghanistan would enable them to serve their nation effectively and take on diverse responsibilities.

Asif Durrani stressed that the knowledge and expertise these individuals acquired will not only enlighten their families but
will also foster informed decision-making in their professional and personal lives.

He emphasized the importance of an educated society in facilitating societal development.

Durrani concluded by emphasising the symbiotic relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan, underscoring the cherished bond that exists between the two countries and the positive impact it will have on their shared future.

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