Guru Nanak University to be set up in Nankana Sahib


LAHORE: Government has decided to construct Baba Guru Nanak International University (BGNIU) in Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of first Sikh.

The decision was made in a consultative meeting of all the stakeholders held in Lahore on Sunday. Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Chairman Siddique-al-Farooq presided the meeting which was attended by Federal Minister Barjees Tahir, MNA Shazra Mansab, MPAs Rana Muhammad Arshad, Zulqarnain Dogar and Rana Jameel, members of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC) Sardar Tara Singh, Sardar Bishan Singh Arorra and Sardar Gopal Singh and other stakeholders.

The meeting has formed a committee of six members under the supervision of Barjees Tahir which will present its finding in four weeks. The committee has given the mandate to propose the suggestions regarding acquisition of land, planning and other issues related to the university.

Sikhs living in Pakistan had a long had a demand for the construction of a university after the name of their first religious head Baba Guru Nanak at his birthplace in Nankana Sahib. Proposal of university was first surfaced during Pervaiz Elahi’s government in 2003 but the matter went into limbo on some legal grounds. Later on the Sikh community raised the matter in every government but they are waiting for any positive result.

Around 19,000 acres of land situated in Nankana Sahib is controlled by ETPB from which around 17,000 acres of land was leased out to farmers and residents of Nankana Sahib, who were not willing to vacate the land despite after notices were served to them.

Last month, the issue of BGNIU become to limelight when an announcement was reported that government had decided to construct university in Muridke. Moreover, there was also a proposal to construct the main campus of university in Islamabad. However, both the proposals were rejected by Sikh community.

After the consultative meeting, ETPB Chairman Siddique-al-Farooq said that all the stakeholders were at same page regarding the construction of BGNIU in Nankana Sahib. He was talking to media after the consultative meeting of the stakeholders in this regard.

Siddqiue informed that a committee had been formed to determine the terms and criteria for the construction of this international university and it will present its finding within four weeks. On a question he claimed that there was no serious dispute between the stakeholders and the required land would be acquired after the suggestions of committee.

By establishing the BGNIU, Siddique said that it will be helpful in promoting the religious tourism in Pakistan while it will also portray country’s good image on international level. For the construction of university, he demanded federal government to allocate Rs10 billion while he demanded Punjab government to allocate Rs20 billion.

Sardar Tara Singh was of the view that the establishment of BGNIU will be a source of pride for the Sikh living across the word. He said that the university will not only help improve the image of the country but will also help in improving the socio-economic and educational condition of the district Nankana Sahib.