KARACHI, July 4: Ayesha Iftikhar Paracha, a physically-challenged student who claims to have been deprived of admission to the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) despite being on merit, on Friday appeared before a medical board constituted on the chancellor’s directives.
Talking to Dawn, Ayesha Paracha, who has both her legs affected by polio, said the board had given a very positive response on her case and she was optimistic that a fair decision would be taken. “I received an encouraging response from the board members and I hope that justice will be done, though, I reserve the right to take the case to court,” said Ms Paracha.
She appeared before the medical board comprising Dr Khan Shah Azam (Liaquat National Hospital), Dr Pervaiz Hashmi (Ziauddin University and Hospital), Dr Shaista Wahidi (Karachi Medical and Dental College) and Dr M.A. Wajid (Aga Khan University and Hospital) as its members. The board has sent its recommendations to the office of the chancellor, Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad. The report is likely to be reviewed on Saturday.
Ms Paracha said the university administration had rejected her application for entry test, citing her ineligibility for the admission.
“I got 91 per cent in medical subjects, while my overall percentage was 88,” she said, adding that the DUHS had two seats for special students but she was told that the policy had been changed this year and her case had been rejected.
“I was even denied an opportunity to appear before the DUHS medical board held on June 25,” she said. She said she repeatedly visited the university despite all the impediments and tried to meet the vice-chancellor and chairman of the selection board though none of them was available.
However, she said, she appeared before a medical board on Friday and she was optimistic that a fair decision would be taken. “If given an option, I will like to get admission to the Sindh Medical College as it has an elevator facility for special people,” she remarked.
DUHS Vice-Chancellor Dr Masood Hameed Khan, meanwhile, told Dawn that there seemed to be some ‘mishap’ on part of the university administration in her case and he would welcome any decision by the medical board.
“The student failed to appear before the medical board on June 25 and, subsequently, the board decided her case in her absence on the basis of her certificate issued by the social welfare department which states that she is permanently disabled. However, I feel that there is some mishap on our part because the student claims that she came for three days and nobody assisted her,” Dr Khan said.
He said that the administration had received two other applicants on special seats as well and a decision would be made on merit after a test. At the moment, there were about 20 disabled students at the university, he said, observing that the university was ready to extend full support to Ms Paracha.
“Dr Nabila Soomro who heads the Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the DUHS has met the girl and reported back to me. The DUHS runs an institute for artificial limbs and we would see if there is a possibility that we can help the student stand on her feet,” he added.