–Govt acquired over 340 kanals of land from PU in one decade
–Two VCs resigned after locking horns with the govt over land issue
LAHORE: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Wednesday took a suo motu notice of the Punjab University (PU) selling land to the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC), while also seeking a report from the varsity administration within three days, Pakistan Today has learnt.
As per the details, the Punjab University has given a go-ahead for selling 80 kanals of varsity land to the NTDC for construction of a 220 KV grid station near Mustafa Town in Lahore and the approval in this regard was given during the 1725th meeting of the Syndicate held in March last month.
Some senior faculty members of the varsity including the then president of Academic Staff Association (ASA) Javed Sami, ASA General Secretary Iftikhar Ahmad Tarar along with other office bearers of the ASA and former Syndicate member Samee Ozair Khan moved an application to the CJP soon after the Syndicate approved giving away land to the NTDC, asking the CJP to take a suo motu notice over the issue under Article 184 (3).
The application, a copy of which is available with Pakistan Today, states “It is of great concern for the academic community of the university as well as civil society of Pakistan that the university land is subjected to acquisition by the government agencies on one pretext or another since almost a past whole decade.”
The application addressed to the CJP also requests him to retrieve the university land to its original purpose and to preserve the same for future generations and to curb such practices for the times to come.
It is not for the first time that the PU has sold its land as the Punjab government has acquired over 340 kanals of land from the varsity during the past decade and several vice chancellors have also locked horns with the government over the same issue.
In a recent development, ex-vice chancellor Dr Zafar Mueen Nasar tendered his resignation in January 2018 while succumbing to the pressure of the government. The authorities had demanded the VC to allocate two kanals of the varsity land to a religious seminary near Chauburji.
In a similar case, VC Dr Khalid Hameed Sheikh had also resigned from the post after refusing to give 4 marlas of land to the government back in 1997. It is worth mentioning here that an assistant professor of the university, Ammar Ali Jan, had also accused the varsity administration for firing him from his post a few days ago for he raised his voice against the selling out of precious land of the varsity.
Speaking to Pakistan Today, a former Syndicate member Samee Ozair Khan, who is also a signatory to the application submitted with the CJP, said that only temporary VCs suited the government in the PU as they easily gave away land to the government.
“The university land can be used only for education purposes but the university is giving away its precious 80 kanals to the NTDC to build a grid station that would also be extremely hazardous for the adjoining areas including the university itself besides residential areas including Johar Town and Allama Iqbal Town,” he said.
He alleged that all of it happened owing to the nexus of the government, NTDC and the incumbent VC Dr Zakriya Zakar as all of them were beneficiaries in the deal. “But we’ll not allow anyone to take our land and will fight our case at every forum,” Khan said, who is also a former principal of the PU Law College.