LAHORE (Ali Zain) – Keeping in view the problems faced by thousands of students, the Legal Education Committee of the Punjab Bar Council on Thursday recommended the Pakistan Bar Council to extend the 3-year Literally Legum Baccalaureus (LLB) program for another two years.

The decision to forward the recommendation to the PBC was taken at a meeting held in Lahore after hundreds of students took it to the Mall road protesting against the Pakistan Bar Council’s move to discontinue the existing 3-year LLB program.

According to a statement released by the Punjab Bar Council, Chairperson Legal Education Committee Farah Ejaz Baig chaired the meeting. Other members Syed Azmat Ali Bukhari, Sheikh Abdul Ghaffar and Rana Intezar Hussain also attended the session.

The committee unanimously decided that the Pakistan Bar Council will be requested to continue the 3-year LLB degree program for the students who are set to complete their bachelor’s degrees in 2016 and 2017, so that the educational years of thousands of the students enrolled in regular BA degree are not wasted.

The committee also decided that 53rd written examination will be held on October 1. The date for submission of the intimation forms has also been extended till August 15. The result of the 52nd exam will be announced on August 22, the statement added.

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Earlier this day, hundreds of students blocked the Mall road to protest against the decision to discontinue the 3-year LLB degree program. They demanded the Pakistan Bar Council to immediately withdraw its notification in this regard, so that the valuable educational years of thousands of law students across the Pakistan are not wasted.

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The participants were carrying placards which stated their charter of demands. They also urged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Justice of Pakistan Anwar Zaheer Jamali to take serious notice of the discriminatory steps taken by the Pakistan Bar Council, terming them a dangerous play with the future of the legal profession in Pakistan.

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Talking to Daily Pakistan Global, a protester, Syed Turab Haider, said that the PBC has tried to create hurdles in our way to get the education by enforcing such an unjust regulation.

“While issuing a notification to cancel the 3-year degree, the PBC office holders should have given a thought to the future of the thousands of students pursuing BA degree across the country,” he added.

Another student, Hasaan Qasim, who is currently enrolled in BA program at Pakistan College of Law, said that the literacy rate of Pakistan is already alarmingly low and by placing such restrictions the PBC is violating our right to education granted under the constitution of Pakistan.

About the Punjab Bar Council’s latest recommendation in response to the protest, Salman Ahmed, another victim of the PBC’s decision, said that the legal body’s step is highly appreciable and that now the Pakistan Bar Council should also pay a little attention to our  plight.

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On January 24 this year, the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), in a new policy on legal education in the country, said: “No further admission to LLB (3 years program) will be given by any university/law college” and “the duration of the LLB course shall not be less than 5 years”.

As a result, the previously taught 3-years LLB program was immediately discontinued at all the universities and colleges in Pakistan.

The PBC had also directed all of the law universities and colleges to admit only up to 100 students in the 5-year LLB degree program annually, while an education of 12 years was set as a minimum eligibility criteria for the admission.