News Pakistan makes first payment for South Asian University but raises issue of 10% student quota


Field Marshal
Field Marshal

SOURCE : Hindustan Times

In a sign of thaw, Pakistan made first payment of $2.259 million for the running of South Asian University (SAU), a SAARC initiative, but raised with New Delhi the issue of students from the country not getting the mandatory quota in admissions, two persons familiar with the development said.

Pakistan not paying the agreed share of SAU’s operational cost was a bone of contention between the two countries and New Delhi had sent two diplomatic communications urging Pakistan to pay up in the last year.

The SAU is active since 2010 and Pakistan was the only nation in the eight-member South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation group which is yet to make any financial contribution.

“The Pakistan paid the first for the first time. $2.259 million was paid as part of dues,” said an official on condition of anonymity. Another official said the total due of Pakistan was $7,850,000 before this payment was made. Pakistan had agreed to foot 11.83% of the operational cost as against India’s 51.8% share.

But Pakistan raised a host of concerns with India, including Delhi not granting visa to any student last year. Pakistan told India it should get the “mandatory quota of 10%” under the SAU charter in admissions.

The SAU has 500 odd students now, including six from Pakistan. And it has one official from Pakistan at present. Till January there were two officials. The other faculty and staff at the SAU comprise nationals of India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan.

A third official said visa is independent of admission to Indian universities including SAU. “Visa rules are different and getting admission in SAU doesn’t mean, the students would automatically get the visa without fulfilling the requirements.”

SAU registrar Dr AK Malik didn’t respond to an email seeking his response. Once it is fully operational, the SAU will have 12 postgraduate science and non-science faculties, as well as Faculty of Undergraduate Studies. At full strength, the SAU will have 7,000 students and 700 teachers.