ISLAMABAD: The idea to set up a research institute at the Prime Minister’s House has been cancelled and instead an emerging technologies and engineering university will be established at a cost of approximately Rs30 billion.
“The proposal to have a policy institute at the Prime Minister’s House has been abandoned on my advice and rather an emerging technologies andengineering university will be set up in the vacant area of the venue,” eminent scientist Dr Ataur Rehman, who is the main brain behind the project, told The News when contacted.
He heads the Task Force on Science and Technology and is also vice chairman of the knowledge economy organisation led by Prime Minister Imran Khan. Dr Ataur Rehman, who is former chairman of the Higher Education Commission, said the premier has given up the proposal of having an elite policy institute at the Prime Minister’s House and approved his proposal of having the emerging technologies and engineering university at this place. The new university after creation and start of functioning may subsequently have a small section of the policy institute, the scientist said.
He said that the new project to be completed in three year will cost between Rs25b and Rs30b. He said the government will foot the bill from its own resources and suitable allocation has been made in the new budget. At a later stage, he said, the foreign funding would be involved.
The scientist explained that the existing building of the Prime Minister’s House would not be used by the new university and would be retained in its present shape for foreign visiting dignitaries.
Dr Ataur Rehman said that the large empty area of the Prime Minister’s House would be used for setting up the university which would have the main entrance from the back different from the one used for the present premises.
Immediately after coming to power, Imran Khan announced to convert the Prime Minister’s House into an educational institution that was given different names at different times. First, it was called a national university and later described an elite research institute.
Previously, Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training was given the task of executing the idea. Subsequently, it was transferred to Dr Ataur Rehman, who said he is handling the project of establishing the emerging technologies and engineering university single-handed.
The primary idea that Imran Khan propounded to convert the Prime Minister House into an educational institution was to give up the use of the palatial premises as part of his austerity move.
However, the representatives of the Quaid-i-Azam University Professors’ Association opposed another university in the federal capital saying that the existing institutions, which are faced with shortage of funds, should be provided sufficient money to improve themselves. They argued that more than one public sector university existed near the Prime Minister’s House.
While Imran Khan has not been using the Prime Minister’s House, some foreign dignitaries, who have visited Pakistan, have being staying there as the government did not have any other place to match their official status.
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