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MURREE: The federal government has allocated Rs300 million in the budget 2018-19 for the establishment of a university campus in Murree. However, land for the project is yet to be arranged.

The cost of the university project has been estimated to be Rs650, says the budgetary documents.

Talking to this correspondent, Sadaqat Ali Abbasi, a PTI candidate for the National Assembly seat from the Murree-Kahuta constituency, said the PML-N government was just playing to the gallery to muster support in the forthcoming elections. He said for about five years the government had been claiming to set up the campus in Murree but it did nothing practically to execute the project.

He said he had launched a campaign for the establishment of a university in Murree for the better future of the youth of the area. But the government is not serious to set up a university in the resort town, he added.

Mr Abbasi said former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had announced the establishment of the university during his election campaign in 2013. But even after five years it remains a mere promise.

He said Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had been elected from the constituency and now he was the prime minister. If a project announced by the PML-N has not been fulfilled now it shows the ruling party has never been sincere in completing the project.

There are a number of buildings in Murree suitable for the university campus, including the Survey of Pakistan building on Cart Road, Punjab House, Governor House Kashmir Point and Governor House Bhurbhan, said Hafiz Saeed Ahmad Abbasi, president Rural Areas Development Corporation. He said the government college building can also be expanded to cater to the needs of the university.

When contacted, Assistant Commissioner Murree Arifullah Awan said there had been some litigation regarding the proposed land for the university at Bruri but the court had decided in favour of the Town Municipal Administration. But some people again approached the court. He said after passing an act from parliament the Higher Education Commission (HEC) would complete the required process. Initially, classes would be started at the government college till the completion of the university building, he added.

Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2018