LAHORE The Punjab University (PU) has been ranked as number two among the revised ranking of varsities by the Higher Education Commission (HEC), the first being Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad, 3rd University of Karachi followed by University of Peshawar and Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan, and Government College University Lahore among the general education universities. PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran told a news conference at the PU Executive Club here on Thursday that as per the HEC ranking, the PU had achieved second position among the general universities across the country, and among the varsities in Lahore it had attained top position in terms of research publications, faculty development and students strength, among other factors for which the PU Administration made generous funding despite financial constraints. Pro-VC Prof Dr Jamil Anwar Chaudhry, Registrar Prof Dr Muhammad Naeem Khan, Prof Dr Shahida Husnain, Prof Dr Muhammad Ehsan Malik, Advisor Students Affairs Iftikhar Ahmad Ch, Treasurer Dr Uzma Ikram, Controller Dr Zahid Karim Khan and other senior faculty members were also present. The VC said that as against the 6th position attained by the PU last year, the credit for securing the honor of second position this year went to the teaching fraternity which had sent a wave of jubilation amongst them. He expressed the hope that the research scholars would leave no stone unturned in further improving the rank of the oldest and the largest seat of higher learning in the Sub-continent. He also pointed out that the research work carried out by the PU Oriental College and PU College of Art and Design was not taken into consideration while finalising the universities ranking by the HEC which had also not evaluated the research work published in the scientific and arts and humanities journals of the university on the basis of the laid down ranking criteria which were being regularly brought out for the past several years. He, however, acknowledge the fact that the PU should endeavour for its inclusion in the ranking of universities at the international level for which it direly needed that 70 to 80 per cent of the existing faculty should consist of PhD scholars. Towards this end, he impressed upon the teaching community to work hard for bringing out best research results during the coming decade for which the administration would upgrade the existing facilities for the varsity research scholars. Dr Kamran further stated that the PU Syndicate Committee had already given its approval to the 4.11 billion budget for the next fiscal year 2010-11. He said that the varsity had to incur a fiscal deficit of 55.5 crore as a result of enhancement of employees salaries, pension and other allowances as per announcement in the federal budget. He said the PU was spending an amount of Rs 2.6 billion or 66 per cent of its budget on the salaries while the number of retired employees at present comes to 2053. He said the varsity was meeting 70 per cent of its budget expenditures from its own resources while the chairmen of various departments unanimously gave a proposal to lease out at least 100 kanals of varsity farming fields to the private sector in order to generate new sources of revenue. He said it was incumbent upon the HEC to considerably increase its grants for the research and developmental programmes of the PU. He further informed that an amount of Rs 5 crore and Rs 7 crore had been allocated for the research pursuits and scholarship to students on merit basis as well as for needy students in addition to stipends for researchers doing MPhil and PhDs besides scholarships for the special students.