KARACHI – SYED JAFAR ASKARI - The Sindh Education Department has set afoot plans to merge the Government SM Science College with the newly-formed Sindh Madrassatul Islam University to expand its (university) land, TheNation has learnt.

The Sindh Madrassatul Islam University, one of the oldest modern Muslim educational institutions in South Asia, is in dire need of more land. It had been elevated to the college level by Quaid-e-Azam himself. Now, it is being given the status of a varsity.

A source, requesting anonymity, said the Government SM Science College administration and leaders of the Sindh Professors’ & Lecturers’ Association would discuss the pros and cons of this decision.

The Sindh Madrassatul Islam was founded on September 1, 1885 in Karachi, with the objective to impart modern education to the people of Sindh. It has already been running a higher secondary school, which has three sections of junior, boys and girls higher secondary.

A senior college professor, while commenting on the issue, said that it was a bad tendency among the government functionaries that they formed an educational institution and ended the other. He said there was no doubt that the city needed more universities, but at the same time it also needed to set up more colleges and schools to cater to the needs of education. Talking about the college education, he said, “The province needs more new colleges to accommodate thousands of students. Conversely, colleges are in immense short of teachers.”

There is a massive shortage of college teachers that needs to be addressed. Over 150 colleges are imparting education to students in the province without libraries.

Various colleges have books but they do not have space to organise them for students.

When contacted, Sindh Education Secretary Siddique Memon’s cellphone was found switched off.

Nine bodies to undergo DNA test: Families buried the bodies of their loved ones on Sunday who had fallen victim to Bhoja airline crash near Islamabad that killed all 127 people on board, as investigators probed the causes of the fatal incident.

The Bhoja Air flight from Karachi came down in fields near a village on the outskirts of the capital on Friday evening, in the city’s second major fatal air crash in less than two years.

Thirteen of those killed were buried late Saturday in Islamabad and funerals for 36 other victims were held in Karachi and other cities early Sunday, with more interments expected in different cities throughout the day.

Television broadcasts showed footage of distraught relatives, weeping and hugging each other, as the dozens of coffins left Islamabad’s Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences hospital where the remains had been taken.

Some nine dead bodies have not yet been identified and will undergo DNA tests, a hospital official said.

The remains still at the hospital are no more than body parts, stored on stretchers and covered by white sheets.