ISLAMABAD: Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU), which was already facing threat, has been closed for an indefinite period.
A number of public sector universities in Islamabad have already announced an unusual one week break from December 22 to December 28.
The universities are International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI), National University of Science and Technology (Nust) Bahria University and National University of Modern Languages (Numl).
However, Numl will re-open on December 26.
QAU, with no boundary wall and a vast open area, could be a soft target of terrorists, sources quoted intelligence agencies officials as saying.
Other universities have already announced one week break from tomorrow
“The security agencies have shown their concern over the security of the university so we decided to close it for an indefinite period,” said a senior faculty member of the QAU, wishing not to be named.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the university, without explaining the reasons, also confirmed to Dawn that QAU had been closed for an indefinite period.
He however said the administration office would remain open for processing admissions for spring 2015.
It is relevant to note here that last month intelligence agencies had sent a security alert to the QAU management.
Despite the threat, the university has still not started constructing the boundary wall due to a land dispute with the Capital Development Authority (CDA).
According to the university official, the CDA is not demarcating land which was leading to a delay in the construction of the wall.
“A large portion of the university land is encroached upon by land mafia. We have been requesting the CDA for the last several years to demarcate the land, but the authority is paying no heed to the issue,” said Dr Waheed Chaudhry, chairman, Department of Anthropology, QAU.
“However, now, after getting a cold response from the CDA we have decided to start construction work on the land which is not disputed,” said senior faculty member Dr Aitzaz Ahmed.
He added that the boundary wall was inevitable for the university’s security, particularly in view of the looming threat.
Like QAU, IIUI also has an issue with the CDA over construction of boundary wall. IIUI, which witnessed twin suicide bombings in 2009, has been facing resistance from the CDA over the construction of the boundary wall.
“Three sides of the university have boundary walls, but the front side that faces the Kashmir Highway does not have a wall. We are waiting for resolution of the issue with the CDA before we commence construction,” said Khawaja Gulzar, the director-general,IIUI, Administration and Finance.
When contacted, the CDA spokesman, Asim Kichi, said the land was given to QAU in the 60s.
“We had handed over possession of the land to QAU, therefore it was their duty to build the boundary wall,” he said.
The CDA had nothing to do with the land dispute; the QAU had it with the locals, the spokesman claimed.
Replying to a question about the land issue with IIUI, he said: “I am not aware of the issue.”
Published in Dawn, December 21st, 2014