By Raza Ruman
Will PM Imran Khan’s another impractical idea of converting the PM House into a university with a whooping cost of Rs34bn?
Although like many other issues Khan could have taken a U turn on this matter too but he still wants it to be done although his term in office has just over one year.
Physics scientist Pervaiz Hoodbhoy has termed this another big scam in the making and perhaps he is rightly saying so.
“Hundreds of mediocre, dysfunctional universities are littered across Pakistan. Now another one is on its way. To be located at the Prime Minister House on Islamabad’s Constitution Avenue, it has been named PUEET (Pak University of Engineering & Emerging Technologies). Costing Rs34.730 billion — of which Rs23.54bn has been approved — this exceeds by eight to 10 times the price of an average public university,” Bhoy said.
PC-1 says it’s a “Dream University” with “Centres of Excellence” in hi-tech fields — artificial intelligence, machine learning, microelectronics, aerospace, cybersecurity, biotech, etc. Its international faculty will make it “stand among the top research universities of the world while catering to the advanced technology needs of the country”.
“Wait! Haven’t we been there before, time and time again? For a full 20 years, Dr Atta-ur-Rahman — the project’s architect — has been promising the moon to simple-minded national leaders. His other projects have flopped, wasting vast sums of public money. Before Pakistan next approaches IMF for the usual dole, we need to recall his unfulfilled pledges,” Hoodbhoy said.
He further said that let’s begin with Dr Rahman’s three scientific institutes (HEJ, TWCST, PCMMDR). These have operated for decades and, between them, annually consume over Rs1bn. Tasked with drug discovery and applied chemistry, their official website and downloadable annual reports boast many thousand research papers. But, tellingly, there’s no mention of the discovery of a single drug or the invention of any industrial process.
“Converting the PM House into a university is unworkable, wildly extravagant, and must be stopped,” he demanded and said to ensure that their true performance remains firmly hidden, a letter dated Feb 4, 2021, from the Prime Minister’s Office de-authorised HEC from investigating any institution under supervision by Dr Atta-ur-Rahman. No cover-up could be more blatant. It suggests lawlessness at the highest level. Unsurprisingly, as per the Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International, Pakistan lost 16 points in 2021 and dropped to 140 out of 180 countries.
PM Khan should follow the advice of Hoodbhoy and better leave this so called ‘dreamy project.’ Consume your energies on improving the state of affairs of other universities. PAK DESTINY