Sikhs ask Pak to fulfill promise of setting up Guru Nanak univ

Former Prez Shaukat Aziz had announced on June 15, 2006 that the government would build the Guru Nanak University.

Updated: Nov 21, 2010, 21:04 PM IST

Islamabad: Sikh pilgrims from India and other
parts of the world, who are in Pakistan to take part in events
marking the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, have asked the
government here to deliver on a 4-year-old promise of setting
up a university in Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of the
founder of Sikh religion.

The pilgrims told the media they would press the
government to set a deadline for the inauguration of the Guru
Nanak University.

Officials of the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB),
which manages the shrines of minority communities, and even
federal ministers have told Sikh pilgrims over the past two
years that the Prime Minister would lay the foundation stone
for the university. However, no action has been taken so far
to start work on the varsity.

"This time we will tell (the ETPB chairman) that if the
government wants to win the hearts of Sikhs around the world,
then he should announce the date for the groundbreaking
ceremony," Sardar Swinder Singh Doblia, a leader of the
Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC)said.

Sardar Bishon Singh, former president of the Pakistan
Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, said "Sikh `sangats` from
across the world have assured the government of Pakistan that
the cost of the university will be borne by the Sikh
community. I cannot understand why the process is lingering on
like this."

According to the ETPB, former premier Shaukat Aziz had
announced on June 15, 2006 that the government would build the
Guru Nanak University.

The ETPB then allocated 360 acres for the varsity.

In 2007, in a meeting with the Sikh leaders, government
officials said the allocation of land for the university had
been increased to 2,500 acres.

ETPB Chairman Asif Hashmi set up a project management
unit for the university in December 2008 and appointed
officials to work for it last year.

The federal government approved Rs 50 million for the
project management unit but has not yet approved Rs 75 million
for a feasibility study.

ETPB Additional Secretary Syed Zahid Hussain Bukhari said
construction work would start once the approval is received
from the government but he did not know when this would be
done.

Doblia said the SGPC had told the government last year
that it had set aside a lot of money for the construction of
the university.

Bishon Singh said the university would initially offer
courses in languages like Gurmukhi and social sciences before
starting natural science programmes.

PTI