NA body asks CDA to demarcate QAU land within 45 days

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Federal Education and Professional training on Wednesday asked the Capital Administration and Development Authority (CDA) to demarcate “actual” land of Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) within 45 days.

The committee that met under the chairmanship of Col (r) Dr Amirullah Marwat discussed the longstanding QAU’s land encroachment issue for the past several years.

The lawmakers said that it was very regretting that country’s top-ranked university was under encroachment of land mafia. They suggested that the issue should be resolved on priority basis as it was the matter of the national interest.

The QAU administration informed the committee that the university had a ‘discrepancy’ of 450 acres. The university’s administration said that the CDA had allotted a total of 1,709 acres to the university in 1967-72 while as per the measurement made by Survey of Pakistan (SOP) in September last year, the university possess 1,557 acres.

The list of local land grabbers’ communities, according to the university, include Dhoke Ghangi, Kot Hathial, Jhangi Bagial, Dhoke Banjial, Dhoke Banjran, Sihalian, Mohra Shah Wali, Parri, Jabbri and Afghani.

The encorachers, QAU alleged, had occupied a total of 1,016 kanals of the university’s land. “Not only this, the locals had also grabbed 86 kanals for agricultural purpose.

The university said that 60 kanals were encroached upon in 2016.

Without mentioning name, QAU Vice Chancellor Dr Javed Ashraf said that “whenever we, through our internal security, tried to stop fresh grabbing the locals reacted severely by attacking our security teams”. He added that the grabbers had also warned against dire consequences if resisted.

However, Education Minister Balighur Rehman said that the university should have registered a complaint with police.

The committee chairman said, “Whenever a layman enters the university it looks like a cattle market and the visitor can’t believe that it is the top-ranked university of the country. “Such intuitions are our national assets and we should take care of them instead of the blame game.”

In response, CDA officials assured the committee of demarcation of the university’s land within given timeframe.

While discussing alleged irregularities in the higher education sector, lawmakers said that there had been mushroom growth in the number of universities without considering education quality.

“I know a university established in my constituency that has opened many campuses without keeping in view the standard of the education. The university managed to open its affiliated campus in alleyways of the city, said a member of the committee.

The Higher Education Commission (HEC) officials said that there were over 188 HEC-recognised universities and over 4,000 affiliated colleges across the country.

They told the committee that the female students’ ratio in varsities was 32 percent which was expected to increase. They said that around 14 universities’ had female vice chancellors.

HEC Chairman Dr Mukhar Ahmed requested for an in-camera briefing of the NA committee to reveal some harsh facts. “I will share the facts, you all would wonder that how the system is running despite all this,” he claimed.

Dr Ahmed revealed that there were several renowned personalities responsible for ruining the system. The chairman of the committee directed for an in-camera briefing on February 8.

Published in Daily Times, February 1st 2018.