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ISLAMABAD: A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Qazi Faez Isa, will hear on March 15 a suo motu case about grant of additional 20 marks to a Hafiz-e-Quran while admitting him/her to an MBBS/BDS degree programme.

The other members of the bench are Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Shahid Waheed. The bench will determine if the grant falls in line with the MBBS and BDS (Admission, House Job and Internship) Regulations, 2018.

In January last year, a bench led by Justice Isa while hearing a matter had questioned the grant of additional marks to Hafiz-e-Quran students. Hafiz-e-Quran students are awarded 20 additional marks in merit for undergraduate admissions to any degree programme. The apex court has sought clarity on the issue.

“How are admissions into medical and other colleges linked to being a Hafiz-e-Quran? Why should 20 marks extra be given on this basis?” Justice Isa asked.

“We believe that memorising the Quran is sacred. And it is a plus point when someone wants to become the imam of a mosque or a religious lecturer,” he remarked.

“But how can a Hafiz-e-Quran be a better doctor?”

A student from the Bolan University of Medical and Health Sciences, Quetta, in 2021 filed a petition before the Supreme Court after being denied admission. He submitted that if he is given 20% additional marks for being a Hafiz-e-Quran, he would be easily enrolled to the varsity on merit.

In 1987, Pakistan passed a law under which Hafiz-e-Quran candidates are awarded 20 extra marks at every level after matriculation.

The apex court on January 8, 2022, had dismissed the petition but decided to hold a separate hearing to discuss the matter.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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