–PM says ‘all symbols of the colonial mindset will be broken’, PTI govt gives top priority to education
–Mehmood says other institutes and departments will be added over time to Islamabad National University
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday formally initiated the conversion of the Prime Minister’s House into the Islamabad National University.
The announcement was made during a seminar titled “Emerging Challenges and Opportunities for Pakistan”.
The educational institute will be housed in the premises of the PM House and other institutes and departments of the university will be added over time in the extensive grounds of the property, Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood said during the inauguration ceremony.
While addressing the audience, PM Imran said that the reason behind establishing a university at the PM House is to send a message to the nation that this government gives priority to education and to reduce the gap between the government and public.
He further said that “all the symbols of the colonial mindset will be broken”.
The premier stressed the importance of “quality education” for a nation’s “progress and development”, adding that the overall level of education will be improved during his term.
Furthermore, the prime minister assured the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of his government’s full cooperation.
“We are making the masses aware of their rights so that they question rulers about their tax money,” PM Khan said.
“When I made Shaukat Khanum, people asked me how the poor would be treated for free. I had faith that there will be a Centre of Excellence,” the premier said.
He added that the money retrieved from dacoits will be spent on education in the country.
PM Imran continued, “Any society that has progressed; it is because they focused on education and human development. If a small class of people makes money, then the country cannot progress.”
Giving an example of those who were caught in the Battle of Badr, the PM said that even they were told that if they taught 10 Muslims they will be released. “This was a revolution for the world that there is nothing higher than education.”
Turning to the leaders of the country, the prime minister said, “Tony Blair lived in a simple building at 10 Downing Street whereas our leaders live in magnificent palaces.”
He added, “The change came in me after my visit to Britain and looking at how the people lived there.”
Earlier, addressing the ceremony, Shafqat Mehmood said that “Establishing the institute and the university is a fulfilment of PM Imran Khan’s commitment to turn palatial official residences into facilities for public use.”
Mehmood said the objective of the conference is to seek the advice of its guests in assigning the task of researching development for the government to the new institution.
Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood, Venture Capitalist Asad Jamal, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing, HEC Chairman Tariq Binori, Dr Ishrat Hussain, Dr Norman Waitzman, Dr Adil Najam and Dr Umer Saif also addressed the conference.
In October, PM Khan had approved the formation of separate committees for evaluation of the draft charter for the university to be built at the PM House as well as the selection of its vice-chancellor.
The PM had also approved the establishment of the Institute of Advanced Studies in the first phase of the university.