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No hike in private school fee, says Sharif

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Islamabad: No private schools across the country should raise their fee in 2015, said Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Picture credit: pakistantoday.com
Picture credit: pakistantoday.com

He ordered the education ministry and the Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) to implement this decision in true letter and spirit, Dawn online quoted a statement as saying.

According to the statement, the Prime Minister directed both the ministries to hold consultative meetings with all stakeholders in order to devise a unanimously-accepted policy that regulates fee increases by private schools.

The directions were part of an effort to come up with ‘proposed legislations in order to regulate and keep a check on profiteering by private schools’.

Sharif’s order comes on the heels of an ordinance, issued by the Punjab government, which also bars private schools from raising their fee this year.

Education Minister Baleeghur Rehman, who was tasked by the PM to solve the fee hike issue, had met with private school representatives on Friday and had reportedly sent a summary to the PM on the basis of his meeting.

Earlier, a group of parents who started a drive against the exorbitant fee hike by elite private schools on Sunday announced their decision to launch a signature campaign to press the government to take action against the private schools.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Vow To Hold Peace Talks With India: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan

Since taking power in August Khan has also sought loans from allies such as China and Saudi Arabia, promised to recover funds stolen by corrupt officials

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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan prepares to speak at the opening of the Future Investment Initiative conference, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. VOA

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday vowed to hold peace talks with arch-rival India following elections in the neighbouring country, after a similar offer from the former cricketer was “rebuffed.”

Khan made the announcement during a speech at a Saudi Arabian investment conference where the newly minted leader launched a charm offensive targeting potential investors as Pakistan seeks to secure funds amid a yawning balance of payment crisis.

“When I won the elections and came to power the first thing I tried to do was extend a hand of peace to India,” Khan told the crowd at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh, saying the overture was later “rebuffed” by Delhi.

“Now what we are hoping is that we wait until the elections then again we will resume our peace talks with India,” he added, referring to upcoming nationwide polls scheduled to take place by mid-May.

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Imran Khan, wikimedia commons

In September India pulled the plug on a rare meeting between its foreign minister and her Pakistani counterpart on the sidelines of a UN summit — a move that was termed “arrogant” by Khan and unleashed a barrage of insults from both sides.

India has long accused Pakistan of backing militants in Kashmir, a Himalayan territory divided between the two countries but claimed in full by both since independence in 1947.

Delhi has stationed about 500,000 soldiers in the portion of Kashmir it controls, where separatist groups demand independence or a merger with Pakistan.

Khan’s call for peace talks comes as his administration is desperately seeking funds from “friendly” countries, including Saudi Arabia, to shore up Pakistan’s deteriorating finances.

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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, surrounded by host country representatives and other participants, attends an investment conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. VOA

The prime minister’s attendance at the FII comes as leading policy-makers and corporate chiefs shunned the conference in response to the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

During his address at the FII Khan confirmed that Pakistan was also in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a new bailout.

Also Read: Pakistan Fears Economic Turmoil, Re-thinks ‘Silk Road’ Project With China

Since taking power in August Khan has also sought loans from allies such as China and Saudi Arabia, promised to recover funds stolen by corrupt officials, and embarked on a series of high-profile populist austerity measures.

But help has been in short supply and economists’ warnings have grown increasingly urgent. (VOA)