FAISALABAD: The University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF), following intervention of the Punjab government, has allowed senior Pakistani spinner Saeed Ajmal to reopen his cricket academy set up on the university land.

In this regard, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) will be inked on Sunday and the Saddar assistant commissioner will draft it.

Last Thursday, the UAF administration had issued a notification, which read: “The syndicate at its meeting held on Aug 29 last, keeping in view the security concerns and directive of the worthy governor/chancellor that no university land anywhere is to be alienated, sold, leased etc and must be used for purposes of university concerned, decided to withdraw its approval on Dec 29, 2012, with regard to establishment of Saeed Ajmal International Cricket Academy at premises of the University of Agriculture Faisalabad, notified on Jan 10, 2013.”

Following issuance of the letter, Ajmal had announced a protest for Wednesday (today) at the District Council Chowk against the forced closure of his cricket academy, which had alerted the Punjab government.

On Tuesday, District Coordination Officer (DCO) Noorul Ameen Mengal along with Ajmal held a meeting with the university Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmed and discussed the issue in detail.

After the meeting, Ajmal told reporters the university had allowed the cricket academy to function and a match would be played on Sunday. After the match, an MoU would also be signed with the university administration. He said reservations of both sides had been addressed and a committee would be formed to look after the academy’s affairs.

The DCO said the proposed committee would include members from both sides and the academy be given a legal cover that was earlier unavailable. He said Ajmal could utilise the land as he was a national hero.

The academy had been set up in 2013 on 22 acres, which was inaugurated by Ajmal himself, Dr Ahmed and others.

Sabir Saeed, a friend of Ajmal, told Dawn they could run the academy only for six months since its inception. He said the academy had been closed since Jan 1 in the name of security threats. He also said the UAF administration had immediately after the attack on Army Public School in Peshawar closed the academy.

“As many as 400 boys and girls, including disabled and blind, are under training,” he added.

He further said Ajmal had spent millions of rupees on converting the allocated land into an academy of international standard.

Published in Dawn, November 11th, 2015

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