(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Allama Iqbal Scholarhips for the session 2022 were awarded to Sri Lankan students in a graceful ceremony held at BMICH by the High Commission of Pakistan and Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.

In his remarks, the High Commissioner of Islamic Republic of Pakistan H.E. Major General (Retd) Umar Farooq Burki HI (M) apprised the guests about the Allama Iqbal scholarships which are sponsored by the Government of Pakistan through Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. The scholarship certificates were awarded to the Sri Lankan students who cleared the selection test for the session 2022.

It is pertinent to mention here that for the session 2022, 1200 students appeared out of which 396 qualified for this prestigious award.   The selection process comprised of an arduous procedure based on combination of tests and the previous academic scores of the applicants under taken by a team from Higher Education Commission. The tests were conducted in June – July earlier this year at Colombo, Kandy, Kurunegala and Batticaloa. H.E the High Commissioner in his remarks further added that the ceremony is yet another step in the long-standing excellent brotherly relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka especially in strengthening the bonds between the youth of the two countries. The High Commissioner warmly welcomed the team from Higher Education Commission headed by Dr. Shaista Sohail who specially travelled for this ceremony to Sri Lanka and applauded their efforts in not only conducting this event but also the whole program which comprised of total four components exclusively for Sri Lanka.

The High Commissioner of Pakistan gave a brief introduction to the personality after whom this scholarship has been named. Allama Sir Muhammad Iqbal also given the title of “Poet of the East” was a poet, philosopher, lawyer, political leader and above all an educationist. Sir Muhammad Iqbal was a South Asian Muslim writer, philosopher and politician, whose poetry in Urdu language is considered among the greatest of the 20th Century. His vision of a cultural and political ideal for Muslims of British ruled India was to animate the impulse for Pakistan. Iqbal’s philosophy of education carries the vital significance being the combination of both modern and ancient thoughts. This dream of his was later recognized in the form of Pakistan by the efforts of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in 1947.

An overview of Pakistan-Sri Lanka Higher Education Cooperation Program was also given to the audience which was launched in 2019 with the capital cost of approximately 18.4 million dollars. Under this program, 800 fully funded and 200 partially funded Allama Iqbal Scholarships are being awarded to Sri Lankan students in all disciplines at BS, MS and PhD levels, which is one component of this program. 237 Sri Lankan Students are studying in Pakistan currently under this program. This year 243 more students have been selected for the Scholarship. The programme’s other initiatives include Establishment of Center for Asian Culture & Civilization in University of Peradeniya, Short trainings for 50 Sri Lankan officials in the public administration, governance and the leadership, 05 Pakistan Educational Expo each year in Sri Lanka and Exchange of 50 Sri Lankan/Pakistani faculty members to Pakistani/Sri Lankan universities to participate in research seminars, conference and other academic activities. This scholarship aims to promote an effective exchange of knowledge and better understanding of cultures and tradition between Sri Lankan and Pakistani students. Selected candidates study in top-ranked Pakistani universities, learn about Pakistani society and values, acquire leadership skills, and help educate fellow Pakistani students and community groups about their own country and culture. The Allama Iqbal Scholarships are part of Higher Education Commission’s initiative to encourage international students to study in Pakistan. Women candidates are highly encouraged to apply for these scholarships. This Scholarship program is for all Sri Lankan students irrespective of any binding on religious, caste, gender etc.

In his concluding remarks, H.E Maj Gen (R) Umar Farooq Burki HI (M) said that Pakistan will always stand with Sri Lanka and will continue unconditional support in strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two friendly countries.

The award ceremony was attended by officials from Sri Lankan Government, friends of Pakistan, parents of the Allama Iqbal Scholarhip awardees and other notables from local community.

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