Parliament yet to pass charter of university promised by PM

Published November 12, 2021
After coming to power, Prime Minister Imran Khan promised that a university would be set up in the PM house. — APP/File
After coming to power, Prime Minister Imran Khan promised that a university would be set up in the PM house. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: The government has yet to get the charter of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s proposed university passed from parliament.

During his election campaign, Mr Khan had repeatedly announced that after becoming the prime minister he would set up a public sector university at the Prime Minister House. After coming to power, he also promised that a university would be set up in the PM house.

However, so far the charter of the university has not been approved by parliament.

“Yes, the charter of proposed university has not been approved yet but we are hopeful that it will be okayed soon,” said an officer of the Higher Education Commission (HEC).

Project to take 72 months to complete after start of work, says document

He said a bill had already been tabled in parliament and last month it was approved by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Education. Now it will be tabled in the National Assembly prior to being sent to the Senate for approval.

The university has officially been named as “The University of Engineering and Emerging Technology.”

According to its working paper, the project will be completed in 72 months.

“Once started, this project will be completed after 72 months so it is clear that at least Prime Minister Imran Khan would not see completion of this project during his tenure,” said another official of the HEC involved in the project.

He, however, said efforts were underway to get the charter of university approved from parliament after which classes will be started in any rented building from the spring session.

The official said the government wanted to start classes in the building of Sir Syed Memorial Society (SSMS) at G-5.

He said the university will be started in a rented or any government building as a stop-gap arrangement until the project is completed in the PM house.

In September this year, the HEC, Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) administration had held a meeting to discuss the options of setting up the university in the SSMS complex at G-5 along Ataturk Avenue.

They had also visited the building and subsequently HEC reported to the federal government that the building had been approved for starting classes of the university.

“The building was found purpose-built for an interim setup of a university. It has a total area of around 11,666 square yards (2.5 acres) with the covered area of 100,000 square feet,” read the HEC’s documents.

HEC officials, however, said so far no formal agreement had been inked between the SSMS and the federal government for starting the university in the society’s building.

The officials said on a long-term basis, a campus would be set up at an estimated cost of Rs23.55 billion approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) a few months ago.

The project was approved in principle by Ecnec in May this year with the direction that the Ministry of Planning and Development should rationalise its cost and come back for formal approval within three months. The Planning Division later reported a cost cutting of a few million rupees which was approved by Ecnec.

Published in Dawn, November 12th, 2021

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