June 4 - 10, 20

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) led Punjab government is all set to establish the first information technology university of the country in the provincial metropolis of Lahore and special funds are being allocated for this purpose in the Punjab budget 2012-13.

The Punjab government will provide free of cost land for Punjab Technology University (PTU), which will be managed by an autonomous board so that it should have the highest standard of computer education.

The first campus of PTU has been set up on the sixth floor of Arfa Karim Software Technology Park where classes will be started from September this year. More than one thousand male and female students will be equipped with modern education in computer science in this campus while 6,000 students will study in the permanent campus of PTU at Dera Rakh Chahal on the Ring Road.

Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, while addressing a function after soft opening of the project of PTU, said that the first information technology university of the country is being set up in the provincial metropolis and special funds will be allocated for this purpose in the next financial year. He said that special attention is being paid to research and development in the university and the time will soon come when it will be able to compete with the leading international universities.

Provincial Education Minister Mian Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman, Chairman Higher Education Commission Dr. Javed Leghari, Chairman Punjab Information Technology Board Dr. Umar Saif, Secretary Higher Education Ijaz Rahim, intellectuals, columnists and experts in IT education were present.

The chief minister said that on the occasion of 2008 elections, he had announced that he would transform the palace-like office at 8-Club Road into IT university for women but unfortunately this project has become a victim of red tapism. He said he has never entered into this palatial building but the promise made on elections has been honored today. He said the educational expenses of 500 brilliant deserving students would be paid from Punjab Educational Endowment Fund. He said that Punjab government has decided to set up Knowledge City over 705 acres land at Dera Rakh Chahal on the Ring Road. He said that the permanent campus of PTU would be established with the collaboration of Middle East Technical University of Turkey.

He said that there is a need to set up universities of a high standard and equip the young generation with modern education for achieving the objective of progress and prosperity. He said that establishment of the university is an important step towards creation of an Islamic welfare state in the light of the ideals of Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal.

Commenting on the energy crisis, the chief minister said that Pakistan is immersed in darkness and there is anger and resentment in the people against the rulers. He said that he is with the people who are protesting against the unjust and discriminatory attitude towards Punjab, but they should not damage public property.

He said that load shedding is the result of the wrong policies and plunder of rulers and as long as the money looted from the country is not brought back, corruption is not stopped and if effective steps are not taken to check power theft, the same situation will persist which cannot be tolerated for a long time.

Replying to the question of media persons, he said that if the corrupt rulers return the money looted from the country, Punjab Bank, NICL, Hajis and the loans that were written off on political basis, Punjab will be the first to contribute its share for the repayment of circular debt. In response to a question about unemployment, he said that it is the result of closure of industries due to load shedding, corruption and wrong policies of inefficient rulers. Regarding powers devolved to the provinces for generation of electricity, he said that he gave a proposal in this regard in the meeting of council of common interests, which was also supported by other provinces. He said that Punjab government started the project of generation of energy from alternative sources but due to hurdles created by the federal government, it could not be completed. He said that the problems of the country could be resolved through collective wisdom, selfless sacrifice, and joint efforts.

Replying to another question, he said that he is ready to set up the campuses of PTU in other provinces as well so that the project could benefit the whole country.

Provincial education minister said the university will serve as the center of excellence and provide a strong foundation for national development. Chairman Higher Education Commission said that establishment of PTU under the sagacious leadership of the Chief Minister would bring about a revolution in IT sector. He said that the university would prove to be the best in South Asia. Chairman Punjab Information Technology Board, Dr. Umar Saif said the IT university will play an important role in equipping the youth with modern knowledge. Earlier, the Chief Minister inaugurated the project of establishment of Punjab Technology University.