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‘Not recognized’: India asks J&K students to avoid studying in PaK

The notice published in newspapers on Tuesday

Srinagar: Students in J&K and Ladakh have been advised not to take admissions in any technical or non-technical courses in Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PaK) as the educational institutions established there are “not recognized” by India.

A recent public notice by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) cautions students of J&K and Ladakh about “unapproved technical institutions” operating in Pakistan administered Kashmir.

“Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) is an integral part of the Union of India and the educational institutions including universities, medical colleges, and technical educational institutions situated in PoJK are neither established by Government of India nor recognized by statutory authorities such as University Grants Commission (UGC), AICTE and Medical Council of India (MCI) etc,” reads the notice by Member Secretary AICTE.

It advises the students not to take admission in any college, university, or technical institutions, for courses in engineering and technology, architecture, town planning, pharmacy, hotel management and catering technology, applied arts, crafts and design, management, computer applications, and travel and tourism.

“…and (courses) for which advisories are issued by various other regulatory bodies under government of India in the territory under illegal occupation of Pakistan including the so called Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK), Gilgit Baltistan, which are currently not recognized in India,” reads the notice.

The notice published in newspapers on Tuesday

Last year in May, UGC too had come up with an advisory cautioning students against taking admission in educational institutions in PaK.

Colleges in Pakistan have a special quota for students from Kashmir. Each year, number of students from the valley opt for colleges, especially for medical courses, in Pakistan. A few of them choose PaK as their destination for higher studies.

The latest advisory comes against the backdrop of J&K High Court observation in a 2019 case, in which the court did recognize the degree of an MBBS graduate from a university in Mirpur, PaK.

Hadiya Chisti of Srinagar had knocked on the doors of High Court seeking directions for registering as Medical Practitioner in Jammu and Kashmir after National Board of Examination disallowed her to write Foreign Medical Graduate Examination Screening Test.

However, on the interim orders of the court, she was provisionally allowed to write exams in which she secured 156 marks out of 300 and thus became eligible for registration.

Justice Sanjeev Kumar of Jammu and Kashmir High Court in December last year directed Ministry of External Affairs to consider Chisti’s case for registration.

“I deem it appropriate to call upon the respondent number one (MEA) to consider the case of the petitioner for recognition of her MBBS qualification and also for registering her as a medical practitioner purely on equitable considerations,” he said in his order.

Justice Kumar noted that the petitioner is a citizen of India and has obtained MBBS from a medical college which is situated “within the territory of India”. “There could be no dispute that the area known as PoK is an integral part of India, though the same is under the occupation and administrative control of Pakistan,” he had said in his order.

If that be the admitted position, Justice Kumar then added, a medical institution operating in the area (PaK) cannot be expected to seek any recognition from Medical Council of India (MCI). “MCI does not exercise de facto control and powers over the territory known as PoK though it may claim to have territorial jurisdiction extended to that area de jure,” he said.

The court had said that PaK could not be regarded as foreign country.

“Therefore applicability of sub section 4A and 4B of Section 13 of the India Medical Council Act 1956 is completely ruled out,” the court had observed.

“If that be the position as it is, the petitioner was not obliged to obtain an eligibility certificate in terms of sub section 4B nor was she required to qualify the screening test conducted by MCI in terms of sub section 4A. The petitioner has suffered and is suffering because of the fact that institution, which though in India, is under the effective administrative control of Pakistan,” Justice Kumar had said.