SWABI, Pakistan: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal on Wednesday clarified that no change had been made in China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) western route and all provinces would benefit from this mega project.
“In addition to setting up of economic zones in KP, Peshawar Circular Railway under CPEC would provide better communication facilities besides employment opportunities to people of KP”, he said while addressing a students and teachers function after inaugurating new academic blocks at University of Swabi as chief guest.
The Minister said that the government has accorded highest priority to promotion of higher education and has planned to establish sub campuses of universities in every district of the country to provide quality education to students at their doorsteps.
Professor Ahsan Iqbal said all concerns of provinces including of the Chief Minister KP who also attended an important meeting regarding CPEC last month in China were addressed, saying that any person having any reservation about CPEC we are ready to address it.
He said CPEC was a life line project of the country and the upcoming generation will not pardon us if we lost this golden opportunity.
The Minister said peaceful protest and demands were real essence of democracy but it should be under constitutional ambit, adding genuine demands of PPP Chairman can be addressed within constitutional framework.
He said the issue of extension in military courts would be addressed with mutual consultation, saying that Military Courts had played key role in curbing menace of terrorism.
The Minister while announcing Rs1 billion grant for University of Swabi said that PMLN government was committed to increase access to higher education and for that purpose sub-campuses and virtual campuses of the universities would be established with assistance of Higher Education Commission (HEC) at district level in next three years so as to enable aspiring students to gain higher education at their doorsteps.
“The Government wants that every student irrespective of their financial status get higher education near their homes and no student leave their education incomplete due to financial constraints,” he said.
“Quality education and access to higher education is the right of every citizen of Pakistan and the Government to fulfill this national obligation has established a network of quality educational institutes to facilitate students”, he said.
Ahsan Iqbal said the past regimes had restricted bilateral relations with US to defense cooperation like purchase of F-16 and weapons equipments etc but the Nawaz Sharif Government after coming into power had widened scope of the bilateral relationship with US and laid the foundation of multi dimensional Pak-US Knowledge Corridor to bring educational revolution in the country.
“Pak-US Knowledge Corridor is one of the most significant initiatives of PMLN Government in the entire diplomatic history of Pakistan with United States under which as many as 10,000 talented Pakistani scholars would be enrolled in the top US universities in next 10 years under Pakistan Vision 2025 for transforming the country into knowledge economy essential for sustained development,” Prof Ahsan Iqbal remarked.
In 1998, he said that the total PhD in science and technology in coutry were 350 that had now raised to 7500 PhDs whereas 3000 more PhDs were being produced to cater the educational and research needs of the country.
Ahsan Iqbal said the Government had accorded top priority to human resource development and has taken practical measures for increasing higher education budget during last three and half years to bring educational revolution in the country.
The commitment of PML-N Government towards promotion of higher education can be judged form the fact that education budget under Higher Education Commission (HEC) which was only Rs 100 billion between 2010 to 2013 had increased to record Rs 2015 billion between 2013 to 2016.
As many as Rs1.4billion budget that were allocated for three mega HEC projects in Khyber Pakthunkhwa in 2010-13, had been enhanced to record Rs11.4billion for 13 HEC projects in KP including construction of University of Swabi for 2013-16. “Is this is not a change in higher education sector,” the Minister questioned.
The Minister said universities of Pakistan would be made smart universities with main focus on promotion of higher education and research works besides connecting it with world reputed universities to get knowledge from their expertise’s and research works.
Ahsan Iqbal said Prime Minister’s Lap Top scheme had opened new vistas of success for talented students and provided them with a tool to boost their confidence and ability through research and access to the information about education and development taking place in world.
The Minister said universities would be encouraged to provide laptops to each and every student to attract them to research works.
He urged students to focus on their education and take full advantage of the facilities being offered by the universities.
He said education was the only way forward to compete with world, adding no nation can progress without education.
Earlier, the Minister visited different sections of the university.
The Vice Chancellor University of Swabi briefed the Minister about the facilities besides informing him about the problems.
MNA Saqibullah Khan, Vice Chancellor University of Swabi Professor Dr Noor Jehan were also present on the occasion.