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Pakistani Students Qualify For Quarter-Finals Of Global Debating Competition

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A group of students from LUMS was able to break a massive barrier this summer and progress to the quarter-finals of the second-largest global debating tournament, the Australasian Championship held virtually at Monash University.

In that process, they also registered their name as one of the top eight debating teams in the world. A group of students from Habib University made it to the English-Second-Language (ESL) quarter-finals in the same tournament.

At the Australasian Championship, LUMS achieved accolades that had previously eluded Pakistani universities. For the first time in Pakistan’s debate history, a team broke in the open category.

A team from LUMS comprising of Ahsan Muhammad, Talha Wani and Taha Iqbal ranked 9th and went onto speak the Open quarterfinals, defeating teams like Sydney, Auckland and Monash Australia, before bowing out of the tournament.

Another team from LUMS consisting of Uswah e Fatima, Zoha Mirza and Shahmir Ahmed made it to the English as Second Language Octo-finals.  A LUMS team comprising of Hira Farooq, Momina Khurshid and Danyal Maqbool missed out on progressing further from the group stages by a few points.

Habib University’s team comprising of Hamza Farookhi, Mahad Akbar and Zuhayr Muneeb made it as far as the ESL Quarter-finals. The Pakistani teams racked up achievements that are considered very hard to attain for most sub-continent universities.

Making it big in varsity-level debating is extremely tough for Pakistani universities. There is sparse support for competitive, free and open debating within the university circle in Pakistan and that is perhaps the story for most activities, other than cricket. Pakistani universities are not known to provide tough competition on the global debating stage due to financial and language barriers.  Given these circumstances, it is remarkable that a dedicated group of individuals achieved this feat.

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Since the inception of this tournament, the best performing teams have often only been universities from North America, Europe and Australia. The ability to compete at par with universities from these countries has always been hindered by limited access to global tournaments due to a lack of funding.

These students have made the nation proud, but there is limited hope that many more can get obtain institutional and government support across Pakistan to compete internationally.

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Naya Daur