Logic fails, politics win : PU syndicate okays Gujar Khan campus to please NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf

Logic fails, politics win : PU syndicate okays Gujar Khan campus to please NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf

By Raza Ruman

 In an alleged political move to please National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, and lure local voters in his interest months ahead of general elections, Punjab University has approved establishment of its sub-campus at Gujar Khan amid heated debate and protest of syndicate members who pointed out the issue of financial sustainability and procedural flaws in the hasty move on part of acting vice chancellor.

Three top bodies of the varsity met recently to take node for the project. PU Academic Council meeting held on July 17, 2023, Finance and Planning Committee met on 21-07-23 and syndicate on 27-07-23, all happening within a 10-day timeline reflecting how speedy a university can be for our politicians, while in contrast students and teachers have to wait for many months for the meetings of these forums as per normal routine.

The syndicate meeting held at Vice chancellor office committee room on Thursday was chaired by vice chancellor Dr Khalid Mehmmod and attended by a total 11 members including representatives from HEC and HED Punjab. 

The federal planning and development has approved Rs 627 million rupees for the establishment of Potohar campus at Gojar Khan, taking financial liabilities for three years only. Many teachers at PU believes the project was without proper feasibility and planning lacked sustainability, as funding has been issued only for three years, after that there will be negative financial impact on the university when other two sub-campuses of the university in Gujranwala and Jhelum were running on loss.

Two elected members of the syndicate Dr. Asghar Iqbal and Dr. Muhammad Islam registered their protest and recorded vote of decent.  Dr. Aghar said all proceedings of the PU Finance and Planning Committee show that strong arguments have been given against the proposed campus, however, in the end one-line decision is in favour of the campus establishment. He said as an argument, it is written in the finance committee proceedings that “PU Gujranwala Campus was facing annual loss Rs 60 million and Jhelum campus was having loss of Rs 20 million.

Dr Islam endorsed Dr. Asghar Iqbal and questioned the model and feasibility upon which campus was being established when already two campuses were on loss. He said proceedings exposed hypocrisy as all arguments of top bodies of the varsity were against the establishment of the campus while a formal approval was given at the same time.   

Dr Mumtaz Anwar questioned who will finance after three years, who will decide about place of the campus and why PU is being dictated in the hiring of the project director, as PD should be hired by PU not by the Planning and Development commission of Pakistan.

Dr. Maulana Raghib Neemi said that without financial sustainability and removing financial concerns while merely relying on the fee collections from the students, a public sector university campus should not be established.  

Dr. Maulana Sarfraz Awan said if the project aimed at benefitting a politician at the cost of future financial loss to PU, we should not establish this campus.

The syndicate finally approved the campus.

It is noteworthy that earlier, a PU committee constituted for the establishment of the said campus headed by the then Dean Faculty of Information and Media Studies Dr. Khalid Mehmood, who is now acting vice chancellor, had submitted its report to not allow the establishment of this campus after the area visit and formal meetings. The same person now as an acting VC is making all out efforts to establish this campus. It is important to mention that PU Jhelum campus is only 30-minute drive from the location. PAK DESTINY

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