The Pakistani Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Afghanistan said on Thursday that the Pakistani government had released Rs1.551 billion to the Higher Education Commission in scholarship grants for Afghan students currently studying in Pakistani universitites.
The Pakistani Higher Education Comission announced last year it would provide around 3,000 scholarships to Afghan students in Pakistan under a four-year program. Last year, around 1,000 Afghan students were also provided scholarships as part of the Higher Education Comissions’s Allama Iqbal Scholarship Programme. Several similar programs have been launched by the Pakistani government in previous years whereby selected students from Afghanistan have been able to study in universities across Pakistan.
“Government has released Rs.1.551 billion to HEC to meet expenses of Afghan students who are studying under Pakistan’s scholarship program,” the Prime Minister’s special envoy to Kabul, Mohammad Sadiq, wrote on Twitter. “This important program for Afghan youth was starving for resources over last several months due to paucity of funds.”
People from both sides of the Durrand line were seen appreciating the decision and hoped for better relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Some people, however, did not agree to the decision and were of the view that funding Afghan students won’t bring any good to Pakistan. Here’s what they had to say:
Why should we feed the snakes? Don't you know, Sir, that our #Afghan 'brothers' have always stabbed us in the back. It started with not recognizing #Pakistan in 1947. It continues till today. Afghan students are not grateful to Pakistan; instead, they harbour deep hatred for us.— Lahori Markhor لاہوری مارخور (@MarkhorLahori) July 9, 2020
Why are we paying for them while they sit in India’s lap and don’t let go of any chance to insult us. Can we afford these scholarships for them when we can’t afford for our own children— waseem (@waseem93904956) July 9, 2020
It's useless investing on Afghani students, they are anti Pakistani minds,they love india,they are never thankful to Pakistan for their 40 years hospitality and care.why afghan businessmen are tax free in https://t.co/HJkcTkp8SV would be better for Afghans to go back and end.— Engr Ijaz Tariq (imran Lover) (@IjazTariq10) July 9, 2020
Appeasing Afghans may be more difficult than converting Modi to Islam.— Junaid Ahmad (@koolicon) July 9, 2020
About three million Afghan refugees live in Pakistan, with more in the neighboring country Iran, many of them struggle to get full access to basic health, education and employment.
Pakistan has hosted Afghan refugees for over 40 years and since 1979, it has regularly been the world’s top refugee-hosting country. But the hate between the two countries never seems to be coming to an end.
Needless to say, there are black sheep in every flock but this move by the Pakistani government is a good gesture and must be appreciated. Thousands of Afghan students, if educated and sponsored by Pakistan would help Pakistan to a great extent in eradicating the hate towards Pakistan and strengthen relations with Afghanistan.
As Muslims, we should help each other rather than hating on each other. That’s what we do. And if an Afghan does something against the law, he should be the one taking the blame and not the entire country or ethnicity. Same goes for Pakistanis.
Feature and Social media image credits: United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan