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02 Dec 2022, 18:03 HRS IST
  • PTI
  • Students from Pak seek easing of visa restrictions

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18:17 HRS IST

New Delhi, Jun 7 (PTI) A group of South Asian University (SAU) students from Pakistan, who graduated today, proclaimed that the institution could act as a "harbinger" of peace between the two countries.

They also called for easing the visa restrictions for increased flow of students on either side.

In all, 176 students were conferred masters, M.Phil and Ph.D degrees in various programmes by the varsity during its convocation ceremony today.

While a good number of students these days in Pakistan opt to move west for higher studies, a few realise the opportunities available next door, said one of the Pakistani students who did his masters in International Relations from SAU.

"I have talked to several of my friends and relatives about the university and the quality of education imparted here.

"I hope with ease of visa restrictions, there would be more number of students coming to India," the student told PTI on the sidelines of the convocation function, requesting anonymity.

Sharing her thoughts, another student, who completed her graduation in Computer Science from the University of Karachi, said she had to make several rounds for grant of visa and it came after a month of applying for it.

"The case would be similar with Indian students as well applying for Pakistan visa. The situation used to be a lot better two to three years back," the student, who did her masters from SAU, maintained.

On their experience studying in the Indian campus, one of them said they never felt like being "discriminated".

"The students in our campus came from across South Asian countries. We hanged out together and shared each other emotions as true friends," students said.

"The families supported our decisions and were not under fear," they said.

The group was unanimous in their observation that the SAU could act a "harbinger" of peace between the two countries.

Out of the total number of graduates, 21 were from Afghanistan, 17 from Bangladesh, five from Bhutan, 11 from Nepal, five from Pakistan and one each from Sri Lanka and France. The rest were from India.

Minister of Education, Science and Technology of Nepal Giriraj Mani Pokhrel, addressing the convocation said the university was a dream of "our" visionary leaders.

"This is our hope that the university will foster a culture of understanding and regional consciousness, the university will be a fountain that nurtures dynamics, bright and quality leadership among the youths," he said.

Pokhrel said as the current chair of SAARC, "I would like to assure Nepal's full support and cooperation to the SAARC process and particularly the south asian university."

"I would like to share with you that Nepal has entered into an era of political stability," the minister said.

"Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali is the mission of the government of Nepal. We want an integrated, peaceful and prosperous South Asia. We do believe that the south asian university should be a landmark of South Asian cooperation and integration," he said.

Rajya Sabha MP and President of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations Vinay Sahasrabuddhe emphasised on converting SAU into an "university of fraternity and a university of ambassadors who will propagate good values across the world".

These graduates could be the vanguard of universal efforts to bring the humanity together for the cause of fraternity, he said.

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