Islamabad - An upcoming meeting at Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU), that is going to discuss some crucial issues, has stirred unrest at the campus.

Two proposals to allocate a piece of land of the university to Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) and closure of linguistics department are on the agenda of the syndicate - the highest decision-making body of the university.

PIDE via a letter has requested the university to allocate land measuring 15-16 acres to PIDE within the QAU for construction of PIDE’s new campus. One acre out of this may be used by National Business Education Accreditation Council (NBEAC).

The PIDE’s current building has also been located inside QAU since 1977. The institute started academic activities in 2000 and with enrolment of students now it is facing shortage of space.

Official correspondence available with The Nation say the PIDE will pay compensation as per approved rules of Capital Development Authority (CDA) to QAU for the acquisition of the land. “These funds will be made available to QAU upon Syndicate’s consent to the deal. Upon construction of the PIDE campus on the land, PIDE’s existing building will be transferred to QAU.”

The idea was put before a meeting of department chairmen, deans, directors and senior professors and most of them apposed it. Though there is no mention of amount in official correspondence, verbally the university has been conveyed that Rs 500 million would be paid in return of land.

But the university faculty and administration believe that amount is not equivalent to the price of land and it is not sure whether it will be paid or not on time.

The PIDE wants to grab the land from university to offer degrees in the same economics disciplines the university already is offering, so there is conflict of interest, opined ex-vice chancellor and director School of Economics QAU, Professor Dr Aitzaz Ahmad. “That’s why everyone has opposed this idea except a few. If they want to compete, they should establish their campus somewhere else and not within the university,” he said.

The closure of the linguistics department is another item on the agenda because the Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Javed Ashraf believes it’s not a profit-making department. Established in 2011, the linguistics department was a brainchild of Dr Tariq Rehman who now heads Beaconhouse University.  Currently about 90 students and seven teaching faculty members are on its strength.

Officials of the department said though it is on agenda of the syndicate meeting yet it may be withdrawn as a final meeting with the vice-chancellor is due and he may reconsider his decision.

The public relations officer of the university, when contacted, said he is not authorised to speak to media.  The VC office also did not respond when requested for comments on the issue.