islamabad - The Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Baligh-ur-Rehman said that government has a zero-tolerance policy against extremism and use of narcotics in educational institutes.

He was speaking at a ceremony held at the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) to celebrate the improvement of the University in international rankings.

QAU remained on number 401 out of 500 in recently announced UK based Times rankings.

The minister said that government has directed the universities for surveillance on illegal activities in the campuses because no such activity would be allowed at the educational institutes.

The minister while commenting on the encroachment issue of the university said that the case is sub judice, and no political leader from the ruling party is involved in the act.

“I would have made efforts to return the land to the university if the matter was not in court,” he said.

Congratulating the University administration for securing the position among top 500 universities of the world, the minister said that every year government is increasing the investment in the higher education sector.

The minister stated that before 2013, around 26 million children were out-of-school and the number has now reduced to 22.6 million.

“According to United Nations charter, it is right for every child to get education till intermediate and government has made the provision of education as its top priority,” he said.

Back in 2014-15, the university made the country proud by achieving this distinction in the US News and World Report Rankings, and in 2017, it has demonstrated the commitment after getting top position in the Times Rankings for Higher Education, he maintained.

He said that it was a great achievement that QAU earned a good name in the world despite meagre resources. “Today I declare this university a flagship institute,” he said.

Baligh added that he would minutely look into all the issues of Quaid-i-Azam University and the government would fully support the university to resolve its issues.

He urged that universities must also teach moral values to the students and make them good human beings to serve the society.

Baligh also emphasized the need of creating a link between the industry and academia for enhancing productivity and economic growth.

He noted that Pakistan is moving on the path of progress as its economy is boosting and GDP growth rate is increasing every year.

At the end, the federal minister congratulated the entire QAU community especially the faculty and students for the Global Top 500 Ranking.

Meanwhile, Vice Chancellor (VC) QAU Prf Dr Javed Ashraf said that Pakistan’s top university is facing a number of issues including its land encroachment at the hands of a political figure.

“University administration raised the issue before the President, Prime Minister, Ministers, and Mayor of the city but the call fell on deaf ears,” he said.

“I hope the federal minister would find a solution to this problem,” he added.

The VC informed that 70 per cent faculty of the university is PhD and 28 per cent is enrolled in the doctorate programs.

He also said that student unions are banned in the university and no one would be allowed to form these associations again.

He said that commitment, dedication and hard work of the faculty are acknowledged by this international recognition.

He said that his priority was to facilitate and encourage faculty to produce quality research during last three years.

“The research publications of the university have touched the number 1306 in 2016 and in 2017 the number would be higher,” he said.

The President Academic Staff Association (ASA), of the University Dr Muhammad Ishtiaq Ali also congratulated the faculty, staff, and students for securing a place among Global Top 500 universities.

He requested the minister that the severe funding constraints should be addressed. He said that the Government of Pakistan and HEC should approve a special package for Pakistan’s top varsity.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 14-Sep-2017 here.