The proposal for establishing Baba Nanak University at Nankana Sahib in Pakistan has further run into rough weather owing to opposition from local residents even as the government has already postponed the foundation stone-laying ceremony for the varsity.
According to sources, Pakistan government failed to acquire land for the project after protesting residents moved court against it.
However, Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) chairman Siddiq-ulFarooq told TOI over phone from Lahore on Saturday that the government was preparing a master plan for Nankana Sahib, which will have an education zone where the proposed university would come up.
While agreeing that there was some opposition on vacating land by local residents, Farooq said under the master plan anyone evacuated would be suitably rehabilitated.
Ear lier, the foundation stone for the proposed university was to be laid in January but it was postponed due to fierce opposition by a group of lawyers who had even stormed Gurdwara Janamasthan, Nanakan Sahib and ransacked the office of ETPB and manhandled its officials and other employees.
Member of Punjab (Pakistan) provincial assembly Ramesh Singh Arora told TOI, “Yes, there is delay in the project since various departments, including Lahore Development Authority , ETPB and Nankana Sahib district admi nistration, are involved.
A lot of people will be displaced. We are making arrangements for their rehabilitation.“
Arora represents Sikh community among the four minorities in the proposed university. The others are Bishop Alexander John Malik (Christian), Kanji Ram (Hindu) and Isphan Yar Bhandara (Parsi).
Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif had given approval for establishing Baba Nanak University at Nankana Sahib and Gandhara International University in Taxila. “There is no such issue in Taxila. We are working on both the projects and hopefully we will sort it out very soon,“ said Farooq.
Sources informed that various international Sikh bodies and individuals have offered to mediate between ETPB and the locals who fear displacement. A delegation of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which would lead a Sikh jatha (group of pilgrims) to Pakistan on the occasion of Baisakhi, would also take up the Baba Nanak University project issue with ETPB officials.
12 Aug 2020
13 Aug 2020