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Khalid Khattak

Lahore, Pakistan
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About Khalid
Khalid Khattak, is a journalist based in Lahore, Pakistan. He is the founder of Pakistan's first and only data journalism specific initiative Data Stories https://www.datastories.pk/. He is in the profession for 17 years now and presently works for The News International as a Staff Reporter. Khalid is a 2013 Daniel Pearl Fellow and has worked at The Wall Street Journal (DC Bureau) and the Duluth News Tribune (Duluth, Minnesota). He has been a visiting faculty at Punjab University’s Institute of Communication Studies. He is a council member of Lahore Press Club and a member of Punjab Union of Journalists.

Lately, Khalid has been actively engaged in coding and is honing his skills in R programming language for data/text analysis.
English Urdu
Investigative Journalism Fact Checking

Non-recruitment on advertised positions: HEC chief asks VCs to complete hiring within one year

04 Mar 2024  |  thenews.com.pk
The Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan has directed higher education institutions to complete the recruitment process for advertised teaching and non-teaching staff positions within one year from the date of advertisement. This comes after concerns over extended delays in the recruitment process, sometimes beyond two years. HEC Chairman Prof Dr Mukhtar Ahmed emphasized the importance of staffing HEIs with the best human resources and noted that delays can lead to legal challenges and doubts about the meritocracy of the process. The HEC has also recommended withdrawing positions advertised before March 1, 2022, and completing recruitment for positions advertised after this date by June 30, 2024. The Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) has raised concerns about the HEC's authority post-18th Amendment, but the HEC Chairman clarified that the federal HEC has not prohibited provincial HECs from taking measures to improve HEIs. He also highlighted the issue of over 70 public universities lacking regular vice chancellors, particularly in Punjab, and has reached out to the newly elected Prime Minister and Chief Ministers to address this and other challenges.

Punjab’s winter break extension calls for better planning

18 Dec 2023  |  thenews.com.pk
The winter break in Punjab has been extended due to colder weather, a recurring issue that highlights the government's failure to plan holidays based on weather data. The break, which began on December 18, 2023, and was initially set to end on January 1, 2024, was extended to January 9, 2024. This has led to concerns among parents, students, and educators about the need for better coordination between government departments, particularly the Meteorological Office and the Education Departments. Stakeholders are calling for the use of real-time weather data in decision-making to ensure the break aligns with actual cold weather, thus preventing educational losses and enhancing the winter vacation experience.

Redefining grading in Matric/Inter exams: Readiness check

20 Nov 2023  |  www.thenews.com.pk
The Inter Boards Coordination Commission (IBCC) has introduced a new grading system for Matric and Intermediate exams in Pakistan to reduce marks inflation and establish uniform grading standards across all examination boards. The system, which will be phased in by 2025, raises the passing marks to 40% and introduces a 10-point grading scale. Despite claims of implementation starting in 2023, Punjab's exam boards still use a 6-point system with 33% passing marks. The IBCC's success in implementing the new system depends on collaboration with provincial governments to ensure a harmonized educational environment.

The crucial role of VCs in university revenue generation

13 Nov 2023  |  thenews.com.pk
The Higher Education Commission of Pakistan organized a capacity-building session on financial autonomy and revenue generation for university officials due to the low public funding for higher education. The session highlighted the need for Vice-Chancellors to have financial management skills in addition to academic credentials. Academics advocate for a reevaluation of the appointment process for university leaders to include financial acumen. The government's role in funding higher education institutions is also emphasized, as universities face financial challenges and should not be solely responsible for revenue generation.

The News Education Expo begins

15 Jul 2023  |  www.thenews.com.pk
The News Education Expo 23, held at Expo Centre in Lahore, attracted hundreds of students, parents, and various stakeholders. Inaugurated by Caretaker Minister Ibrahim Hasan Murad, the event featured over 57 national and international universities and organizations. The expo aimed to provide comprehensive educational opportunities, including information on admissions, scholarships, and career counseling. Participants and visitors praised the event for its convenience and the chance to interact directly with educational representatives. The Jang Media Group organized the two-day event, continuing its tradition of offering free educational resources.

PU to spend research funds on students’ transportation

03 May 2023  |  thenews.com.pk
Punjab University has redirected Rs30 million from research funds to cover the fuel costs of student buses, a decision that has faced criticism from faculty members. The re-appropriation was approved by the university's Syndicate, despite opposition from members including Dr Asghar Iqbal and Dr Muhammad Islam. The funds were originally allocated for research activities, which are already underfunded due to inflation. Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Khalid Mahmood defended the decision as a one-time measure due to financial constraints and promised increased research funding in the next budget.

O-level, A-level exams start today

25 Apr 2023  |  thenews.com.pk
Pakistani students begin their Cambridge IGCSE, O Level, and International AS & A Level exams, with concerns addressed by the British Council about mehndi designs on hands post-Eid-ul-Fitr. The British Council clarified that designs are permissible as long as no text is written on the hands. Over 100,000 candidates in Pakistan will participate in the June exam series across more than 100 subjects.

School dept fails to implement new academic session

06 Apr 2023  |  www.thenews.com.pk
The School Education Department Punjab failed to enforce a uniform start date for the 2022-2023 academic session, leading to a shortage of textbooks and confusion among students, parents, and schools. Despite extending the previous academic year and setting a new session from August 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023, many private schools and some autonomous institutions like Divisional Public School began their new session in mid-April. The Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board has not been able to supply the market with necessary textbooks, causing academic disruptions, especially as summer vacations approach. Parents and teachers are calling for government action to resolve the textbook availability issue.

Vacant posts of VC, Pro-VC affect PU working

18 Mar 2023  |  thenews.com.pk
Punjab University in Pakistan is experiencing a crisis due to the absence of a Vice Chancellor for over two weeks and a Pro-Vice Chancellor for nearly four months. The delay in leadership appointments has led to a standstill in university operations, affecting admissions for the BS programs, statutory body meetings, scholarship approvals, and research projects. The Higher Education Department Punjab's frequent administrative changes are seen as contributing to the problem, and there is a call for the government to make interim arrangements to prevent further disruption to the academic calendar.

Making public schools first choice

07 Nov 2022  |  www.thenews.com.pk
Private educational institutions in Pakistan are becoming the preferred choice for many despite public schools having qualified faculty and better facilities. The growing trend includes low-fee private schools under franchise systems. Public schools face challenges such as over 101,831 vacant teaching and administrative posts and lack of parental engagement, which private schools capitalize on through regular parent-teacher meetings. Experts suggest that to make public schools the first choice again, authorities need to take ownership, build public trust, and train administrative officers in managerial skills.

Eyebrows raised over PU appointments

27 Jun 2022  |  www.thenews.com.pk
The Punjab University administration has circulated the agenda for its upcoming Syndicate meeting without including the proceedings of recent selection boards, raising concerns over appointments made by the former Vice Chancellor using emergency powers. The meeting will address over 170 appointments of academic staff, but the lack of transparency has led to allegations of merit violations and irregularities. Faculty members have demanded an inquiry into these appointments, particularly in the School of Communication Studies. Legal challenges have also been raised regarding promotions that allegedly violate university rules.

Corona vaccination experiment: No clue to missing monkey

06 Aug 2021  |  www.thenews.com.pk
The University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences in Lahore has been unable to locate a monkey that escaped during transportation on campus. The monkey, part of coronavirus vaccine trials, was last seen in the Krishan Nagar area. Locals reported sightings and concerns, but the monkey, which was injured, evaded capture. The UVAS has a special facility for such experiments and has been working on Covid-19 vaccine development, with the Punjab government allocating Rs 100 million for this purpose. An official called for an inquiry into the escape, while a senior faculty member claimed the monkey was spotted on campus and would be caught soon.

Safety, security of air, rail, road passengers: Zafar Masud plans to establish foundation

22 Feb 2021  |  thenews.com.pk
Zafar Masud, a survivor of the PK-8303 PIA plane crash and President of the Bank of Punjab, announced plans to establish the Zafar Masud Foundation to enhance the safety and security of air, road, and railway passengers in Pakistan. The foundation aims to raise awareness among passengers about their rights and lobby for stricter safety regulations. Masud shared his traumatic experience of the crash and criticized the insensitivity of journalists covering such events. He also expressed his ongoing grief for fellow passengers and his gratitude towards his rescuers.

Books banned by PCTB

29 Jul 2020  |  thenews.com.pk
The Punjab Curriculum & Textbook Board (PCTB) recently banned 100 books for containing profane and anti-Pakistan content. The banned books included 65 on Social Studies, 15 on Urdu, 12 on Islamiyat, and 8 on English, with the highest number being taught to grade-4 students. Oxford University Press had the most banned books at 14. The PCTB Managing Director, Rai Manzoor Hussain Nasir, stated that 500 books were examined in the first phase, and 10,000 books are under review. Publishers did not seek PCTB approval, violating the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board Act 2015. Some publishers have apologized and are willing to correct the mistakes. The banned books contained various errors, including incorrect maps, dates, and population figures.

23 sub-campuses of seven private universities declared illegal

11 Jan 2020  |  thenews.com.pk
The Higher Education Department (HED) Punjab has declared 23 sub-campuses of seven private sector universities unauthorized and directed them to halt student intake. These sub-campuses, including those of the University of Central Punjab and Superior College, have been operating without the approval of the Punjab Governor and fail to meet academic, management, and legal requirements. Legal actions are being considered, and previous cases of unauthorized sub-campuses, such as those of BZU and the University of Sargodha, were cited where students had to be adjusted elsewhere due to similar issues.

Child Sexual Abuse: Data analysis shows one child is murdered every month in Punjab

29 Apr 2019  |  Data Stories
An analysis of Punjab Police records since 2017 reveals that three cases of rape or sodomy with children under 10 are reported daily in Punjab, Pakistan, with one child murdered each month. A total of 2,841 cases of child sexual abuse have been registered, with 40 murders across the province. Gujranwala region reported the highest number of abuse cases, while Sheikhupura region, including Kasur district, had the most murders. The case of seven-year-old Zainab from Kasur, who was murdered after rape in 2018, brought significant attention to the issue. Officials admit that child abuse is underreported and emphasize the importance of proper investigation and media follow-up to ensure justice.

HEC to take up VCs salary package

03 Mar 2019  |  thenews.com.pk
The Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan is addressing the issue of revising the salary package for vice chancellors (VCs) of federally chartered public sector universities. A summary was previously moved to the President in August 2017, but no progress has been made. The Punjab government has already approved an enhanced salary package for VCs in 2017. The HEC's proposed package includes a significant increase in basic salary and gratuity, amidst a financial emergency in public sector universities due to budget cuts over the past three years. The meeting also covered student complaints on the Prime Minister Citizens Portal, with universities being asked to efficiently manage grievances.

Maryam, Hamza, others meet Nawaz

10 Jan 2019  |  thenews.com.pk
Maryam Nawaz, along with family members and PML-N leaders, visited former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Kot Lakhpat Jail. Party workers showed support outside the jail, and a PPP delegation also visited. Nawaz Sharif, serving a seven-year term, had a medical checkup due to health concerns. PML-N leaders criticized the PTI government and hinted at an opposition alliance to ensure 'real democracy'.

Social media abuzz with prayers for Tariq Jameel’s health

02 Jan 2019  |  www.thenews.com.pk
Noted religious scholar Maulana Tariq Jameel underwent angioplasty at Doctors Hospital in Lahore after suffering chest pains. Social media platforms, particularly Twitter and Facebook, saw an outpouring of prayers and tributes for his recovery. His official Facebook page, managed by his son, shared updates on his health and activities. Tariq Jameel had recently returned from a convention in Toronto, Canada, where he met Bollywood personalities A R Rahman and Javed Ali.

Altaf behind Abidi’s murder, claims Vawda

29 Dec 2018  |  www.thenews.com.pk
Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda claimed that MQM founder Altaf Hussain is involved in the murder of Ali Raza Abidi. Vawda, alongside Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid, accused former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of maligning the Pakistan Army and judiciary. Vawda vowed to bring Abidi's killers to justice, describing the murder as an internal criminal conflict. Rashid criticized Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and PPP leader Asif Zardari, alleging Zardari's ongoing criminal contacts. Rashid also expressed disappointment in Bilawal Bhutto's political approach. The ministers affirmed their commitment to addressing corruption and praised Chief Justice Saqib Nisar for expediting legal cases related to Pakistan Railways.

Nawaz shifted to Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail from Adiala

25 Dec 2018  |  www.thenews.com.pk
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was transferred from Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi to Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore under tight security after being sentenced to a seven-year jail term in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption case. Supporters of the PML-N gathered to show their support, though strict security measures were in place. Nawaz Sharif was allotted barrack number 1 and provided with various facilities as per prison rules. The Punjab government approved better facilities for him, and he will be allowed to meet his family daily. Security measures were heightened due to the presence of high-profile prisoners.

Hamza for Shahbaz treatment abroad

09 Dec 2018  |  www.thenews.com.pk
Hamza Shahbaz, a senior PML-N leader, criticized the PTI government for delivering uncertainty in its first 100 days, leading to widespread concern among citizens and businesses. He emphasized the importance of setting a clear direction for the country and accused the government of political victimization, citing Shahbaz Sharif's arrest without evidence. Hamza praised Shahbaz Sharif's contributions to CPEC projects and energy infrastructure, calling for his right to seek medical treatment abroad. He also highlighted the economic challenges Pakistan faces, including the necessity of approaching the IMF due to currency devaluation. Hamza condemned the PTI's use of foul language against opponents and stressed that PML-N remains united and effective in opposition.

Nawaz’s return boosts workers’ morale ahead of election

14 Jul 2018  |  thenews.com.pk
The return of former Premier Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz to Lahore has invigorated the PML-N party workers while also drawing criticism from PTI supporters. The Sharifs chose to face imprisonment over staying in London, a move that has been seen as a testament to their bravery and loyalty by their supporters. This comes after an accountability court sentenced them for corruption in the Avenfield Apartments case. The event has sparked significant social media activity, with mixed reactions from the public.

Seven universities await Vice-Chancellors: Higher Education Department set to start search for nine universities VCs

12 Jul 2018  |  thenews.com.pk
The Higher Education Department of Punjab is preparing to search for vice-chancellors for nine universities, while seven others still await appointments. The Punjab Higher Education Commission has been requested to form VC Search Committees. The positions will become vacant or are already vacant at universities including UET Lahore, Islamia University Bahawalpur, and others. Interviews for the University of Sahiwal, University of Okara, and Ghazi University have been completed, with appointments pending approval from the new elected government post-July 25 general elections.

Less developed districts show good result in class 5, 8 exams

03 Apr 2018  |  www.thenews.com.pk
Students from less developed districts in Punjab, Pakistan, have outperformed those from more developed areas in the Punjab Examination Commission's grade-5 and grade-8 exams, particularly in mathematics and science. Lahore showed the lowest pass percentages, while districts like Bhakkar and Chakwal recorded the highest in various subjects. Over 2.5 million candidates participated in these exams, and the results were successfully published online by the Punjab Information Technology Board, which received over 10 million hits in three hours on the result day.

With access to PMD's comprehensive 2022 weather data, we are equipped with invaluable insights to comprehend the magnitude of the climate emergency we currently face

26 Sep 2016  |  www.geo.tv
The article discusses the severe weather events in Pakistan during 2022, including snowstorms, heatwaves, and monsoon rains leading to devastating floods. It references data from the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) to highlight the extreme climate conditions faced by the country. The monsoon season was particularly destructive, causing over 1,700 deaths, displacing millions, and resulting in significant economic losses as estimated by the World Bank. The article also covers the impact on agriculture and the challenges faced by farmers, mentioning initiatives like Digital Dera aimed at helping farmers adapt to climate change. It touches upon the need for international support and criticizes the lack of adequate assistance from high GHG emission countries. The piece concludes with a note on the importance of global collaboration for Pakistan's resilience against climate change.

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