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A university in PM House would violate capital’s master plan, CDA tells govt

Updated January 11, 2019

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Authority suggests involving recently-notified commission revising master plan. — File
Authority suggests involving recently-notified commission revising master plan. — File

ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) has told the federal government that the prime minister’s initiative to set up a university at the Prime Minister House would violate the city’s master plan.

The authority has told the federal government it will have to alter the master plan if it wishes to set up a university in a government building.

Sources in the CDA said that the authority informed the government in an official letter on Wednesday that, according to the capital’s master plan, a university cannot be opened in an administrative building.

Authority suggests involving recently-notified commission revising master plan

They said the CDA told the government that a university in the Prime Minister House would be “non-compatible use” of a government building.

The CDA told the government that the commission recently notified to carry out a comprehensive revision of Islamabad’s master plan could be asked to look into the university matter as well.

The inaugural ceremony and conference for the Islamabad National University – which is to be set up in the Prime Minister House – was held last month.

The government had announced at the time that the university was envisioned as an institution designed to support research-based policymaking.

According to the government, it would initially consist of the Institute of Advanced Studies, which would be tasked with providing science-based annual reports to the government on emerging challenges facing Pakistan and the world, and a PhD programme would be started there at a later stage.

However, the CDA’s objections may set the government’s plans back by at least six months, which is the amount of time the aforementioned commission has to revise the city’s master plan.

CDA spokesperson Syed Safdar Ali confirmed that the CDA wrote to the government explaining that a university could not be opened at the Prime Minister House without changing the master plan.

He said the CDA told the government that a university would be non-compatible use of a public building.

Sources said the Ministry of Federal Education had asked the CDA through the Ministry of Interior to give its perspective on the plan to open a university in the Prime Minister House.

A source in the authority said the CDA submitted its view “in response to a letter from the education ministry”.

The government may also find it difficult to get the university’s bill passed in parliament; although the bill would pass in the National Assembly, the PTI does not have enough seats in the Senate to pass the bill without the opposition’s support.

Sources said that the government will have to get a bill passed by parliament in order to offer degree programmes, including PhD programmes, at the university, which cannot offer programmes without a charter.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019