KARACHI, June 25: A newly-constructed building was handed over to the University of Karachi at a ceremony on Friday by the spiritual leader of Bohra community, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin, for housing the department of genetics in it.

Syedna Burhanuddin, who has recently been awarded an honorary doctorate degree by the KU, accompanied by the university chancellor and governor Dr Ishratul Ibad unveiled the plaque in the presence of Bohra community members, political figures, as well as teachers and students of the genetics department.

In his brief statement, Syedna declared that he was dedicating the building to the nation while praying that it would prove worthy not only for the genetics department in undertaking teaching and research activities, but, also a source of benefit to the humanity.

The two-storeyed building reflected a blend of modern and Fatimid architecture, covering an area of about 26,000sq-ft. Syedna and his community members had provided Rs25 million for the construction of the building and supply of furniture and fixtures, said a KU official.

Dr Ishratul Ibad, KU vice-chancellor Dr Pirzada Qasim, and Dean of Science Faculty Dr Muhammad Qaiser thanked the Bohra leader for his gesture and financial support to the university. The gift in the shape of a department building and his presence at the inaugural ceremony reflected Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin's love for science, arts and Islamic culture, they observed.

Two separate messages from President Musharraf and Senate Chairman Mohammedmian Soomro, acknowledging the generous contribution towards the cause of education, was also read out by a teacher of the genetics department, Shakilur Rehman Farooqui.

On behalf of Syedna Burhanuddin, Shahzada Qasimbhai announced a donation of one million rupees for two scholars doing research fellowship in plant genetics at the University of Karachi.

Dr Ferzana Naqvi, chairperson of genetics department, thanked Syedna for the donation and his overall support.