The Higher Education Commission (HEC) organized on Tuesday a speech competition in connection with the Kashmir Solidarity Day. Students from different universities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi region participated in the event.
Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood was chief guest in the opening ceremony, while Parliamentary Secretary Wajeeha Akram graced the prize distribution ceremony.
HEC Chairman Tariq Banuri and DG (Academics) HEC Raza Chohan and a larger number of students from universities in the twin cities were present at the occasion. Sher Ali Daim from Allama Iqbal Open University excelled among other contestants and won the competition. Azhar Iqbal from Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology, Islamabad clinched second position and Kainat Latif from Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi won the third position.
The winners were awarded cash prizes worth Rs50,000, Rs30,000, and Rs20,000, respectively. Judges for the competition comprised the renowned journalist and anchorperson Arshad Sharif, Dr. Abdul Aziz Sahir from Department of Urdu, AIOU and Makhdoom Shahabuddin. In his address, the Minister stressed that India, under the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, has been gripped by a wave of fascism and Hindutva ideology and is committing genocide of the innocent Muslims. He added that the government is taking concrete steps to internationalise the issue and as a result, three UN sessions have recently been held on the burning issue of Kashmir dispute. The Minister appreciated HEC for highlighting the Kashmir cause and holding the competition to provide the youth an opportunity to express their sentiments on the Kashmir issue. He observed that it is very significant to create awareness among our youth about the importance of Kashmir for Pakistan.
In her remarks, Wajiha Akram stressed that every individual or institution needs to raise the voice of Kashmiris in their respective capacities. She said the world needs to recognise the struggle of Kashmiri people for freedom. She appreciated the students for their spirit and knowledge about Kashmir issue and urged them to keep their sentiments alive. She said Pakistan stands by the Kashmiri people in their struggle to achieve their right to self-determination.