MULTAN – Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that Pakistan can gain a respectable place in the world by making advancement in research and technology.

Addressing at the inaugural ceremony of Multan Campus at the Air University, the PM said: “We’ll have to equip our children with latest knowledge and high quality education for making them prepared to face international challenges successfully.“

Chief of Air Staff Rao Qamar Suleman, Higher Education Commission Chairman Javed Laghari, Multan Corps Commander Lt-Gen Shafqaat Ahmad, Air University Vice Chancellor Air Commodore (r) Dr Ijaz Malik, Multan Campus Director Dr Hayat Awan and other officials were also present on this occasion.

Gilani said that Air University was a vital opportunity for the children of this neglected region to acquire high quality education in latest disciplines. He said that he had asked the air chief to set up a university in South Punjab to impart aeronautical engineering education to the students of this region and the government would provide funds for it.

He said that a proposal had come into his knowledge regarding setting up Air University campus in the building of Wilayat Hussain College. “The building is very large while the number of college students’ is very small. The proposal should be considered seriously as it will save billions of rupees,” he added.

The PM directed the HEC chairman to arrange funds for the Air University Multan Campus. He said that he had come to know that college’s 33-kanal land was under illegal occupation and it should be vacated.

Declaring current era the age of information, he announced that the government would not impose any curbs on media. “Rather, we’ll make the media more free,” he added. He said that the government always wanted to empower the media. “The more you utilise this power (of information) against us, the more we benefit from it,” he said in a light mood.

He announced that the government would establish information centres at union council level to give a common man access to information technology. He hoped that this project would generate thousands of new jobs besides connecting even far-flung rural areas to the world. He said that although provincial governments had also launched projects for promoting computer and IT education, yet we needed to establish its infrastructure first. “In order to develop this infrastructure and provide broadband in even far-flung areas, the federal government had approved funds worth billions,” he added.

Earlier, addressing the ceremony, the chairman board of directors of Air University Air Chief Marshall Rao Qamar Suleman hoped that the varsity’s Multan campus would play key role in development of this region. He demanded the prime minister to allocate funds and land for the establishment of campus. He was of the opinion that we lived in the era of information and knowledge.

Speaking on this occasion, the VC of the varsity Dr Ijaz Malik said that initially Rs200 million funds were required for the construction of varsity building but just Rs 6 million was received so far.

Meanwhile, inaugurating different projects launched by National Highway Authority at Pak Arab Fertilizer Factory Chowk, the prime minister said that projects were proof of government’s determination to fulfil all promises it made with the public.

He said that the provincial and federal governments had agreed to pay fifty funds for many sewerage and other development projects of Multan but the former failed to pay its share. “But I assure you that we’ll provide funds and we’ll complete these projects,” he added.