Jammu Varsity To Offer Seats To PoK Students
9 August 2007
The Indian Express
Jammu: To take confidence-building measures across Indo-Pak borders to a new level, Jammu University has proposed offering seats to students from the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK). According to officials, the university plans to reserve supernumerary (over the prescribed limit) seats for students from the PoK. A proposal in this regard will be put before the University Council-the varsity's supreme executive body-which will recommend to the Union HRD Ministry to take up the matter with the authorities in Pakistan. After this, the JU will advertise courses and seats offered for such students. The University Council is headed by Jammu and Kashmir Governor Lt Gen (retd) S K Sinha. Sources said the idea gained currency after recommendations made by a working group on cross-border relations, headed by M Rasgotra. The group called for an exchange of students and faculty from across the border and recommended granting admission to students from PoK in some of the courses. However, it was well before the working group's recommendations that the work started on the student exchange programme between Muzaffarabad University and the JU. Vice-Chancellor of the JU Prof Amitabh Mattoo, during his last year's visit to PoK, had explored the idea with the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir in Muzzafarabad. Mattoo said during his meeting with Prime Minister of PoK Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan he found that the latter was enthusiastic about the student exchange programme between the two part of Kashmir. He, however, added that the JU had a competitive edge over the PoK university and that the former will be receiving more students. 'We can add more seats in different courses under the supernumerary arrangement to enable the students from PoK to get admission here,' he said. The sources said even as the JU had been playing a key role in hosting academicians, lawyers and other members of the civil society of Pakistan, it was for the first time that the university proposed admissions to students from the other side.