LAHORE: President General Pervez Musharraf said on Saturday it was wrong to think that missionary schools and colleges were a danger to Islam. I also studied in a missionary school and college, but no one asked me to change my religion, Gen Musharra
He said the missionary schools in Pakistan were trying to raise education standards. We are in no danger from the missionaries, he said. We should welcome more missionary schools and colleges in Pakistan.
Gen Musharraf said it was important for Pakistanis to be as good at English as Urdu. It is wrong of us to think that we are adopting western values; we are in fact modernising, he said.
Gen Musharraf announced that FC College was starting a new Information Technology programme, and directed Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi to authorise the college to issue its own four-year degree.
He said tycoon Bill Gates wanted to invest in Pakistani IT and wanted to visit the country to see what opportunities there were. He has spoken to me in this regard. I will invite him to Pakistan and will suggest he establish one of his centres in FC College, he said.
He said privatising schools and colleges would lift the standard of education in Pakistan, and told Punjab Governor Lt Gen (r) Khalid Maqbool and Chief Minister Elahi to denationalise other colleges in the Punjab.
Gen Musharraf accused the opposition of opposing the Model University Ordinance for political reasons. He said the ordinance would reform the education system in Pakistan.
He said FC College had given Pakistan several leaders. He said the nation could only develop if its people received good educations and advised the students at the convocation to follow merit for their and their country;s betterment.
Gen Musharraf thanked college principal Peter H Armacost for accepting his post at FC College, saying he had left his own country but was doing a great service to Pakistan.
Meanwhile, FC College gave its Era of Excellence Formanites Award to Gen Musharraf, Mr Elahi, Pakistan International Airlines Chairman Chaudhry Ahmad Saeed, National Security Council Secretary Tariq Aziz, Punjab Chief Secretary Hafeez Akhtar Randhawa, Punjab Education Secretary Khushnood Akhtar Lashari and former diplomat Jamshed Marker.
In his welcome address, Mr Armacost spoke of the history of FC College, saying it had produced dozens of leaders who had done great service for Pakistan.