LAHORE:15 April: Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) has shown serious concerns, over what it terms, federal government’s anti-education policies, budgetary cuts and closure of various academic programmes observing that the government is bringing higher education sector back to the Stone Age. In a press statement, FAPUASA President Dr Mahboob Hussain, Secretary Arif Khan, Punjab chapter President Dr Hamid Mukhtar, Islamabad chapter President Dr Sohail Yousif and others said the PTI government had promised during elections that it would give top priority to the education sector. They said there were many hopes from the PTI government that it would boost and support higher education. However, contrary to their tall claims, the policies and steps being taken by the government were negatively affecting higher education sector in the country, they observed. They said since the government was not extending support to the Higher Education Commission, the HEC had to shut down some academic programmes completely while funding of some programmes had been reduced drastically, which was bringing the overall higher education sector to a halt. They said neither provincial nor federal HEC was providing any funding to the university teachers for participating and presenting research papers at the international conferences abroad, which was seriously discouraging the researchers who put in a lot of effort to do research, writing papers and get them published by reputed foreign journals. They said that instead of increasing the budget for higher education sector as per tall claims during elections, the government had massively cut the recurring budget as the government has decided to allocate only Rs58 billion against HEC’s demand of Rs103 billion. They said the future of any country was associated with education and if the government wanted Pakistan to prosper, it needed to prioritise education. They said universities were the only institutions in the country which made rapid progress in the past few years due to which international ranking of all Pakistani universities had improved. However, if the government continued to ignore the higher education sector, research and development activities would be affected badly and all the process of making achievements at international level would face reversal. They demanded the rulers to fulfill their election promises and prioritise education; otherwise, teachers of all the universities in country would be compelled to take hard steps.The news.