Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone of Al-Qadir University on Sunday in Sohawa in Jhelum district.
"I had been thinking about creating this university for the past 23 years," the premier said. "It has been named after Abdul Qadir Jilani, who linked science and spirituality. We consider spirituality a super science; it needs research, which will be conducted here.
"Thirty-five per cent students will be given scholarships [at Al-Qadir University]. We will run it on Namal University's model. This varsity is not being established through government funds but through private fundraising.
"This university is being formed for a purpose. We want to turn our youth into leaders. That will happen when they get to know the principles of the state of Madinah. We will undertake research and learn how the Muslims rose from Madinah. We will also develop latest technologies here, for which we will ask China for help."
Taking a stab at previous governments, the premier said: "The ideology, the vision and the objective of Pakistan were long forgotten by our political leadership in recent past [...] it is sad that we deviated from our destined path but now we must get back on track. Institutions like Al-Qadir University will serve as the first step towards doing that."
The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan, Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood, federal minister Fawad Chaudhry and other officials.
Earlier, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari visited Sohawa to review arrangements for the foundation laying ceremony of the university, according to Radio Pakistan.
"The best investment for the country at this point is in intellect & learning of its youth," said Bukhari on Twitter. "Al-Qadir University is a vision for making next generation leaders well versed in Islamic foundations — that’s the kind of farsighted ideas Prime Minister Imran Khan and the First Lady have for the Pakistan of tomorrow."