Islamabad - Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) and Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop a smoke-free environment in the city.

Both institutions will work to motivate the youth against tobacco use under the slogan “Say no to Tobacco.”

The accord was signed by the varsity Registrar Dr Muhammad Naeem Qureshi and Dr Minhajus Siraj on behalf of CADD.  Under the MoU, the capital administration will facilitate the university providing necessary material for launching awareness campaign. Both sides will develop policy guidelines to ensure observance of tobacco control laws and will also generate activities that help to develop ‘Tobacco-smoke free Islamabad.’ Similarly, the AIOU will initiate one credit hour course and develop curriculum for students on the subject of tobacco control.

Dr Siraj on the occasion gave a detailed briefing to the faculty members and the staff on tobacco-smoking hazards. A representative of World Health Organisation Shahzad Alam Khan was also present on the occasion. Parliamentary Secretary for CADD Maiza Hameed spoke about the government’s policy and endeavour to keep the nation away from the menace of smoking.  She hoped that the AIOU being the mega-educational institution in the public sector will engage its students against tobacco that was leaving dangerous impact on the public health.

She called for regular interaction between the teachers and students on the issue, as a part of the awareness campaign. 

AIOU Vice-Chancellor Dr Shahid Siddiqui in his speech assured the support of the university in curbing the menace of smoking, particularly among the youth. The AIOU campus has already been declared smoke-free area, and their 44 regional offices will also be doing the same.

The VC said that awareness about the public health-care including the habit of non-smoking will be promoted through academic programmes while incorporating the anti-smoking message in their curriculum.

“Most of the university’s academic, social and cultural activities have already been linked with the society’s overall welfare,” he said.

Dr Siddiqui said a number of initiatives have been taken recently developing liaison between the university and the society.

The initiatives include enhancing educational facilities for prisoners, catering the educational needs of the drop-out girl students and setting up accessibility centres for visually impaired students, he added.