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Giving Back to Pakistan

On the occasion of Golden Jubilee celebrations of Middle East Technical University, a contingent of 42 Pakistanis (25 Pakistani alumni of METU and 17 family members) converged on the university campus at Ankara to participate in the festivities. They stayed on campus for around 4 days, reminiscing and enjoying every moment. The discussions led to a serious note of how we can contribute towards a major contribution to Pakistan.

Arshad Jamil, the first Pakistani to go to METU was the prime mover of an idea to find ways to contribute towards promoting education in Pakistan. We agreed to establish the METUPAK Foundation in Pakistan as an umbrella for all our charitable activities.

Intesar Ahmed, Arshad Jamil (explaining his thoughts on how to contribute towards Pakistan), Nasheed Rehman, Ejaz Ahmed, Mir Arshad Ali Khan, Arif Zahir Khan, Mazhar Hussain

Registration with SECP

Upon return to Pakistan, we immediately hired the services of a lawyer to register the METUPAK Foundation with Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan as a non-profit organization. Memorandum and Articles of Association were prepared and submitted and by the following persons.

  • Kazi Zulkader Siddiqui, CEO
  • Muhammad Aslam
  • Abdul Hai Khan
  • Muhammad Fazlullah Shariff
  • Ejaz Ahmed
  • Arshad Jamil, Chairman

SECP granted the license and METUPAK Foundation (MPF) was registered on 2 November 2006 under the Companies Ordinance, 1984 (XLVII of 1984) as a “company limited by guarantee”, under registration no. 5996/20061101.


MPF took a two-pronged approach and started two projects:

Bulgaria and Greece border Turkey to its northwest and western in Europe. Georgia is on its northeastern border along the Black Sea while Armenia and Iran are along the eastern border. As small slice of Azerbaijan in the Nakhchivan region also touches the Turkish border between Armenia and Iran. Iraq is towards southeast and Syria is on its southern border.

  • Mohalla Training Center (MTC) – please see details below
  • Petaro Technical University (PETU) – please click here to see details

For the next nearly two years, the team worked hard on both projects and achieved results to a certain degree.

Mohalla Training Center (MTC)

The MTC project was envisaged to promote vocational training for people who need a low-cost solution. Arshad Jamil’s initial concept paper gave the raison d’être as follows:

“There is a very large underprivileged class of people in Pakistan, toiling day in and day out for a meager living, with no hope of ever improving their lives. An affordable training center, at their doorsteps, would provide that little extra skill enhancement, to help them advance, and in turn help Pakistan towards progress. In order to achieve this objective, MPF would provide bare-bone basic training centers in neighborhoods, which are accessible to the underprivileged and the unemployed men and women. These “MOHALLA TRAINING CENTERS” would be housed in various localities. Typically, a center would have two classrooms, one common room, bare bone facilities, and some basic training tools. It will have two fulltime multi-skill instructors, covering two shifts, with supplemental help of part time instructors from the neighborhood and trained and funded by MPF.”

The project had the following thoughts in the back of our mind:

  • Lack of education and training for masses is one of the root causes of poverty, unemployment and other social evils. Education is a slow and tedious process that takes years of disciplined and structured lessons.
  • For adults and poorer segments of Pakistani population, who neither have the means or time for prolonged education process, an alternate means of training could be made available by way establishing training centers in their communities (mohallas).
  • Instead of waiting for the government to solve their problems, educated and skilled people would offer their skill and knowhow to train unskilled persons.
  • Instead of waiting for the government to solve their problems, educated and skilled people would offer their skill and knowhow to train unskilled persons.
  • Similar skill enhancement for the thousands of street vendors like cleanliness, better presentation, simple arithmetic, manners, and customer relations would be welcome for all.
  • 6. Office, shop and factory workers could benefit from simple skills like reading a drawing, some word processing, drafting, plumbing and office support training.

Operational parameters included locating the centers within walking distances with flexible timing in user-friendly environments, having manageable class size, simple, practical, and hands-on lessons that people can use in their work and trade, and provide affordable training in trades to allow participants obtain better jobs or advance in their career. The operational costs would be kept low with initial funding by METUPAK Foundation. Target spending was anticipated at 80% for classrooms and 20% for administrative expenses. It was expected that useful training would encourage participants to bring in friends or family members to participate.

Over the next year and a half, MPF established and operated three MTCs in the Rawalpindi area and its vicinity.

MTC #1 – Sadiq Akbar High School Gulistan Colony, Rawalpindi

At a Madrassah in Sadiq Akbar High School, Gulistan Colony, Rawalpindi

The first Mohalla Training Center was set up at a madrassah in Sadiq Akbar High School, Gulistan Colony, Rawalpindi where they taught English language improvement, computer basics and Autocad courses. There were 35 students (including 15 from the madrassah). The teachers were paid monthly salary of Rs. 4,000. The madrassah administration cooperated fully with all possible efforts to assist us in the process. They allowed use of th space and their utilities free of cost in their library, and also made four of their computers available to be used for our training. MPF arranged for additional 5 computers. Each course lasted three months. English class met three days a week for three hours per session, while the computer/AUTOCAD class convened on the other three days of the week were set aside for the computer course. The computer course had to focus on basics before trying to get them on to AutoCAD.

Courses were advertised in the mohallah through banners, handbills, billboards, announcements from the mosque, and by approaching shopkeepers in the local market.

MTC #2 – Burn Hall Cadet School, Joura

The second center was established in Burn Hall Cadet School, Joura, which is about 20 km away from Lala Musa in Gujrat District. In this center offered a stitching course for female students and women from nearby villages. We paid rent initially to the school administration, but once trust was established, they were waived off many of their conditions. MPF bought 10 sewing machines and furniture for the school and the teacher was paid a monthly salary of Rs.5,000. Classes were offered five days a week and six hours a day. 14 women were enrolled in the course.

MTC #3 – Shah Bagh

The third center was set up at a school in Shah Bagh, about 15 km from Rewat (not far from Rawalpindi on GT Road). This MTC offered English language and computer courses with the intention to also start other skill courses (like electrician, carpenter, etc). Five computers and requisite furniture was provided for this MTC. There were 18 girls learning English and 30 students registered in the computer course.

Management and Tenure of the MTCs

Ejaz Ahmed, was the clear leader and key person for the MTC and he funded and ran the Mohalla Training Centers. Funds came in through other Metupakis too, but he provided the infrastructure and computers and other equipment. Kazi Zulkader Siddiqui assisted him with policy, accounting, audit, banking and administration. Ejaz’s Danish played a very important role in building and supervising the day to day activities.

In addition to teaching English or other skills, the MTC also taught these students public and interpersonal dealings, cleanliness, and awareness on one’s surroundings. This had an impact on the mannerisms of the students and their approach to education.

In addition to teaching English or other skills, the MTC also taught these students public and interpersonal dealings, cleanliness, and awareness on one’s surroundings. This had an impact on the mannerisms of the students and their approach to education.Six more MTCs had been planned at Rawalpindi, Hattian Hazro, Shamsabad, Dhoke Kashmirian, Dhoke Kala Khan and Mardan with different programs. A full-time coordinator was also hired, and he was given a motorbike to be able to visit each MTC and supervise activities.

Unfortunately, the MTC project could not be sustained due to financial constraints. With donor fatigue, funds dried up after almost two years of operation and we were unable to continue sustaining the venture. It was simply not possible to fund it solely on the small tuition fees charged from the students. The centers were finally closed down at the end of 2008.