Govt shelves plans for 2 universities in Balochistan -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Govt shelves plans for 2 universities in Balochistan

QUETTA: The federal government has finally shelved plans to establish two universities in remote areas of Balochistan.

According to credible sources, the Planning Commission of Pakistan had dropped both the projects from the Public Sector Development Programme (2010-2011).

The authorities claimed financial crunch, while the decision to drop the project was taken at a meeting of the National Economic Council. President Asif Ali Zardari had announced the establishment of a university in Turbat, when he met with Baloch notables as beginning of the reconciliation process in Balochistan in 2009.

The varsity had also set up two university campuses in Kech and Loralai districts two years ago and the MPAs and senators concerned had also provided financial assistance to build full-fledged universities with the help of the federal government, and in due course of time. Both were set up in order to provide higher education facilities to students of remote areas reducing the overwhelming burden at the University of Balochistan, A UoB spokesman said the Balochistan government had assured that both the campuses would be given the status of varsities. But now it is too difficult to keep the campuses functioning because the UoB was already facing financial crises and was not able to pay its employees salaries, and the proposal of the new varsities were dropped.

“The current budgetary shortfall is Rs 430 million and after October the varsity will not be able to pay its employees,” the spokesman said. Repair, rehabilitation and renovation of UoB buildings, and establishment of an FM radio station and a television production house in the Department of Mass Communication had also been dropped from the current PSDP, he added. He said 58 UoB PhD students who were studying in foreign countries would have to abandon their education if immediate grant was not provided.

Ironically, there was no visible political support to the highest seats of learning in Balochistan as most political leaders, both in power and opposition, were apparently unconcerned on imminent closure of universities for want of funds. Students demand that the Balochistan government should divert all the funds for MPA and ministers for proper functioning of the universities. mohammad zafar
Source: Daily Times
Date:9/21/2010