LAHORE: The Sikh community living in Nankana Sahib has opposed government’s plan to shift the Baba Guru Nanak University (BGNU) from Nankana Sahib to Islamabad or any other place.
The Evacuee Trust Property Board has now decided to establish the main campus of the university in Islamabad and sub-campuses in Nankana and other provinces, after protests from the legal fraternity and tenants occupying the board’s property.
Social activist Dilawar Singh who lives in Nankana District said that he is not in favour of establishing BGNU outside Nankana District.
“Nankana Sahib is the birthplace of first the Sikh master, Guru Nana, and therefore the university should be established here. Now the lawyers are ready to give their land for the university since it will open avenues of prosperity for all residents of the district,” he said.
Dilawar asserted that the plan of establishing the university in Nankana started in 2003 but politics and other issues did not let the successive governments to materialise the plan. “Master plan for Nankana Sahib will be of little use if the main campus of the university is not set up here,” Dilawar said.
Former president of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandakh Committee Mastan Singh said that the establishment of university at Nankana will improve image of Pakistan at international level as Nankana is an international city and the members of the Sikh community from all over the world come here to pay homage to Guru Nanak Sahib.”
Mastan Singh further said: “If the main campus of the university is established in Islamabad or Muridke, it will lose its relevance. There will be little benefit of establishing the sub-campus here. ”
Ramesh Singh Arora, the first Sikh member of the Punjab Assembly from the ruling party PML-N, said that he also wants the main campus of the university in Nankana Sahib. “It is also my wish like other Sikhs that main campus of the university is established in Nankana Sahib.” However, he said if there is any land dispute with lawyers and tenants, then the university should be established at anywhere so that the plan is not scrapped. He added that sub-campuses of the university would be established at Choorkana, where Gurdwara Sacha Sauda, a historical shrine associated to Guru Nanak, is situated. He said that the Evacuee Trust Property Board Chairman Siddique al Farooq is making all efforts to set up the main campus at Nankana Sahib.
Evacuee Trust Property Board Chairman Siddique al Farooq said that a handful of lawyers and tenants occupying the board’s land created hurdles for establishing the university at Nankana Sahib and put up banners against him in the district in order to threaten him.
He said that a master plan for Nankana Sahib has been prepared and urged the residents of Nankana to cooperate with him. He said that the government has earmarked Rs 1 billion for Baba Guru Nanak University (BGNU). He further said that the chairman of Higher Education Commission during a meeting on August 17 hinted to give Rs 3 billion for the university. “The members of the action committee have no sincerity for Nankana District and they are just trying to befool the masses,” he said.
The action committee has launched the “Save Nankana” campaign and wants the main campus of the university in Nankana District.
The Evacuee Trust Property Board approved the construction of Guru Nanak International University on November 1 and planned to launch a groundbreaking ceremony of the university till January 2018.