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January 27, 2015

Wali Khan varsity mostly shifts to its Garden Campus on eve of third convocation


January 27, 2015

MARDAN: The third convocation of the Abdul Wali Khan University is being held today at a time when it has mostly shifted to its grand new campus and plans are afoot to turn its old campus into a women’s university.
The Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan (AWKUM), named in memory of the late Pakhtun nationalist leader, was commissioned in February 2009. It started working in a portion of land carved out from the Government Postgraduate College, Mardan on the Mardan-Nowshera road, but it was obvious this was going to be its temporary home until it got a new campus under a well-conceived master plan.
That moment has arrived as most of the university departments have been shifted to the new location, ambitiously named the Garden Campus as it would look like a vast garden once the landscaping and plantation is complete and the trees attain height and the flowers are in bloom. The mega AWKUM project spread over 2,000 kanals of land in Platoo village located to the east of the modern Sheikh Maltoon town in Mardan, would eventually cost Rs13 billion. In April 2012, the foundation-stone of 18 blocks of buildings was laid and presently the construction work is in full swing.
Getting money for the project was no problem as long as Ameer Haider Hoti, the Mardan-born Awami National Party (ANP) leader, was the chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
He was the architect of the university and had named it after his party elder Abdul Wali Khan. In fact, he also founded the Bacha Khan Medical College in Mardan and had plans to build an agriculture university in the city. The three projects are all located in the Platoo village on 5,000 kanal of land with AWKUM and the
proposed Agriculture University taking up 2,000 kanal
each and the Bacha Khan Medical College the remaining 1,000 kanal.
Once the three projects are completed and the Bacha Khan Medical College and Agriculture University also shift to their new campuses in Platoo, this place in Mardan would

truly become an education city and a great place of learning.
Nowadays, the Garden Campus of AWKUM is a sight to behold as construction workers give the final touches to some buildings and the university administration making use of whatever has been built to shift the departments there from the old campus. The number of teachers and students has increased and made the Garden Campus a lively place. There is diversity in evidence as one can see girls with covered and uncovered faces. In the classrooms, boys sit on one side and the girls on the other as Mardan after all is still a conservative place. However, the number of girl students is steadily rising and according to the AWKUM Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr Ihsan Ali, they now form 38 percent of the total of more than 8,000 students in the university.
The enormity of the construction work at AWKUM could be gauged from the fact that the academic blocks would serve the needs of 38,400 students. There are 12 hostels under construction for 4,800 students. A central library equipped with the most modern facilities is almost ready and has space for 200,000 books.
A central research laboratory in which foreign faculty would join the AWKUM scholars to carry out research is also being built. A hostel for the foreign faculty is part of the master plan.
So is a cafeteria, an open theatre, swimming pool, community club, a shopping, media and medical centre, sports complex, residences for the faculty members, a university school and college, helipad and an auditorium able to accommodate 2,500 persons.
Then there would be the Pakhtunkhwa Study Centre. The Pakhtunkhwa College of Arts is already functional in its own dedicated building.
Dr Ihsan Ali is proud of the fact that AWKUM produced its first PhD in five years as in his view only a few universities would have made this achievement in such a short span of time.
He pointed out that AWKUM’s faculty include 136 PhDs and 111 who did MS and M Phil. He said currently 81
of his faculty members
were pursuing their PhDs in reputed universities all over the world, mostly in the Western countries, and another 58 were studying for their PhDs in major universities in Pakistan.
Another achievement that has made Dr Ihsan Ali proud is AWKUM’s contribution to create two independent universities in Charsadda and Swabi by developing the existing campuses that it had originally established there.
“In four years, we were able to develop our Palosa Campus in Charsadda to
become the Bacha Khan
University and the Anbar
Campus in Swabi district to grow into the University of Swabi,” he said.

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