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MURREE: The provincial government is likely to shelve the project to set up a university campus in Murree due to the unavailability of land.

Sources said four locations were proposed for the campus - Garyal, Jhika Galli dairy farm, Government Postgraduate College Murree and Baruri.

A last-ditch effort to find a site for the campus near Baruri failed as the land turned out to be a disputed one. Besides, a source said, without an act passed by parliament the university cannot be set up.

Under these circumstances, the establishment of the university campus in Murree would be quite difficult, said the source in the Prime Minister Office Islamabad.

If the situation prevailed, it could lead to the shelving of the project, he added.

Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had announced to set up a modern university in Murree during his election campaign in 2013.

Later, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who is member of the National Assembly from Murree, promised to set up the campus.Sources said the Punjab government had approved the establishment of the university campus in Murree on the request of Mr Abbasi and later a process was started to allocate land for the project.

A meeting was held at the commissioner office in Rawalpindi a few months ago to review the arrangements for the establishment of the campus.

The meeting was informed that that the prime minister had asked the provincial government to make arrangements for the establishment of the campus of any major university in Murree.

For this, the federal government would provide funds and the Punjab government would arrange land. However, the provincial government is yet to select the university which would open its campus in Murree.

The meeting was informed that the federal government wanted to establish the campus of Fatima Jinnah Women University or Quaid-i-Azam University. Discussions in this regard were underway with the representatives of the universities.

During the meeting Assistant Commissioner Murree Arifullah Awan presented three to four sites for the establishment of the campus. However, the acting commissioner at that time asked him to carry out a survey in collaboration with the HEC.

Later, a delegation from the Higher Education Department and the HEC visited the Govt Postgraduate College, Govt Girls College and Govt Commerce College Murree.

The objective of the visit was to check the availability of infrastructure to start university classes in any of the institution.

The heads of the three colleges informed the delegation that they had sufficient space for the campus.

Besides, the administration of the Govt Postgraduate College offered its science block for the project.

Later, the delegation chose the Govt Postgraduate College near Jhika Galli for starting university classes.

“Initially, we are going to start university classes at the Govt Postgraduate College Jhika Galli and later the university would be shifted to its newly building,”AC Arifullah Awan told Dawn.

He said the prime minister had promised that funds would be released when the concerned authorities finalised the required technicalities.

He confirmed that some cases were in the court regarding the proposed land but the court had decided in favour of the Town Municipal Administration. However, some of the allotees of the land once again approached the court.

The official said after passing an act from parliament, the HEC would complete the required process to start classes in the government college till the construction of the university building.

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2018