PESHAWAR - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Friday Peshawar has been changing as the country is getting rid of terrorism.

Addressing the centenary celebrations of Islamia College Peshawar on Friday, Nawaz said all-out efforts are being made to root out the menace of terrorism from the country and overall situation has improved in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including Peshawar over the last two years. He said the armed forces, police and administration deserve applauds for the sacrifices they rendered for restoration of peace.

Nawaz said Islamia College University, Peshawar, had rendered a remarkable service to the cause of education in the province in its century-long history, calling upon its students and teachers to maintain their high academic standards for meeting the challenges in different walks of life. As Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was invited to address the ceremony at its lush green cricket ground, he ordered removal of bulletproof rostrum installed for him as part of security measures. Though the security dice was placed on the stage, the prime minister delivered his speech from a rostrum being used in the classroom. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan who is also the college chancellor, the Peshawar corps commander, Higher Education Commission Chairman Prof Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, Vice Chancellor Ajmal Khan and Senior Alumni Association President Lt-Gen (r) Ali Muhammad Jan Aurakzai were also present on the stage.

Addressing the gathering of students, teachers, employees, old students and guests without a security wall, Nawaz Sharif expressed his affection towards the Islamia College University, saying though the weather was inclement a night before his coming to Peshawar, he was determined to attend the centenary function and reached here by road.

Recalling the centenary of Government College, Lahore, in 1964, the prime minister said it was his heartiest desire to attend the centenary celebrations of Islamia College, Peshawar. Referring to the address of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah as the governor general in April 1948 in the Islamia College, Peshawar, he said he was proud to address the students and teachers at the same place today where the Founder of Pakistan had addressed them. Amid a high applause, responding quickly and generously, the prime minister announced Rs one billion for the construction of various academic infrastructure projects at the university. He also announced Rs 50 million for the welfare of students and staff of the Islamia College.

The prime minister directed the Higher Education Commission chairman to release this grant to the college for various kinds of infrastructure development projects.

Commenting on peace efforts, the prime minister said a few years back, there was a terrible law and order situation in and around Peshawar because of terrorism. Owing to untiring efforts and innumerable sacrifices laid down by security forces, people and police as well as efforts of government institutions, the law and order situation was now satisfactory, he asserted.

Earlier, in his welcome address, Islamia College University, Peshawar, Vice Chancellor Ajmal Khan told the audience about the historical services of this institution for the cause of education in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and its adjoining tribal belt. He specifically mentioned the love and affection of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah towards ICP.

The Quaid, he said, had bequeathed one-thirds of his residual estate to this college. He mentioned various kinds of problems which the ICP had been facing since its upgrade to university in 2008. He said only generous funding could drive the institution out of severe financial problems.

Senior Alumni Association President Lt-Gen (r) Ali Muhammad Jan Aurakzai, in his address, discussed the way the college had been playing its role in educating the youth of the province since the beginning of the 20th century. He said, being the first public sector institution in the province, the ICP had now become an inspiration for quality education.

On behalf of ICP, KP Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan presented a souvenir to the prime minister. Nawaz Sharif also gave shields and souvenirs to the vice chancellor and others.

Earlier, Nawaz Sharif landed at the hockey ground of the college where a temporary helipad had been set up for two helicopters of his aerial convoy. He was given a red carpet welcome by the university authorities. He straight drove to open a chrysanthemum exhibition and planted a sapling in the garden.

Several thousand students from Islamia College, Islamia Collegiate School, guests and old students accorded a rousing welcome to Nawaz Sharif and his entourage.

The teachers and the students warmly welcomed the prime minister upon his arrival at the historic college founded by great Muslim League leader Sir Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Khan in 1913. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah visited the college in 1936, 1945 and 1948 and lauded the services of its students towards the establishment of Pakistan.

The college has now attained the status of a university and its students are serving their countrymen on key positions. The celebrations are in progress as people from all walks of life are visiting this historic college after completing 100 years by spreading rays of knowledge in the province.