ISLAMABAD: The supreme decision-making body of Quaid-i-Azam University on Wednesday conditionally approved the land swap deal with the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for the Bhara Kahu bypass project, as nine out of 12 syndicate members backed the agreement with the civic body.

The syndicate headed by QAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Mohammad Ali also formed a joint working group (JAC) to finalise recommendations for resolving all pending issues between the varsity and the CDA. These recommendations would be presented at the next meeting of the syndicate slated to be held next week.

The seven-member JAC will have three members each from QAU and CDA while Additional Secretary of Education Waseem Ajmal Chaudhry will head the working group.

Sources said that 12 members of the syndicate attended the meeting – seven in person and five online – and nine of them endorsed the deal with the CDA for the sake of public interest. If the CDA is offering alternate land in the same area, then there is no harm for the university to accept the land swap deal, the members who supported the move said.

Joint working group to submit recommendations in a week

On the other hand, three members – a senior dean of QAU and two representatives of the faculty – strongly opposed the move and stated that university land should not be utilised for the road project.

They cited the university’s complicated history with the CDA and said demarcation of the university’s land was still pending despite the passage of several years and also referred to encroachments on the university land.

As per an earlier assessment of the Bhara Kahu project, at least 650 kanal of the QAU land was supposed to be utilised by the civic body for the road project.

But the CDA changed the alignment of the road later on and the syndicate was told that only 199 kanal of the varsity land would be used for the project.

The CDA had already issued an offer letter to QAU, proposing an allotment of 225 kanal – at least 26 kanal of additional land. The syndicate was also informed that CDA had assured in writing that it would also level this piece of land so the QAU could utilise it.

“Yes, the syndicate meeting today conditionally approved land swapping with CDA for the Bhara Kahu bypass project and it has formed a joint working group that will finalise its recommendations for the next meeting,” the QAU VC told Dawn after the meeting.

Meanwhile, Education Additional Secretary Waseem Ajmal Chaudhry told Dawn that the working group would finalise recommendations within a week time.

He said that he would play his role in resolving the issue. “Both QAU and CDA are government organisations and we will settle issues amicably,” he added.

It may be noted that amid opposition by the QAU faculty to the project on the varsity land, the CDA stated that in June this year, in the presence of VC Dr Mohammad Ali, the civic body had decided that the road would pass through the university area and that the civic body would provide alternate land to the university under a land swap deal.

Recently, in a bid to resolve issues with the varsity, CDA Chairman Mohammad Usman formed a committee.

On his direction, CDA’s member estate and other concerned officers paid a number of visits to QAU in recent days and finally earmarked a suitable site for the QAU in exchange for the university’s land.

A few days ago, the VC had told Dawn that if CDA honoured its commitment to allotting alternate land in light of the decision made in June, then there would be no justification for the protests.

Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2022

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