Sectarian harmony a must for NAs development: president
4 July 2006
The Daily Times
Gilgit: President Pervez Musharraf said on Tuesday that sectarian harmony and peace were vital for the development of the Northern Areas. Speaking at the first convocation of Karakuram International University (KIU) in Gilgit, President Musharraf, who is on a three- day visit to the Northern Areas, said that he had developed a personal attachment with the region after he served there during his early military career. 'Therefore, I am taking a special interest in the development of this region,' he said. He said that it was encouraging to see a university functioning in the area, adding that the students would have to completely shun sectarian biases and practice enlightened moderation for enabling the institute to impart education and stimulate intellectual activity in the area. He announced Rs 50 million for the KIU and assured the university administration that their other demands would also be fulfilled. He said that the university could be made an important regional seat of learning through developing links with other universities of central Asian states. He said that the federal government would extend all help and cooperation in opening new departments of tourism, minerals and herbal medicine in the area. He said that 57 universities would be connected with optic fibre system in the country. He said that the Public Sector Development Programme's size had been increased to Rs 415 billion to develop economically backward areas of the country. He said that promoting tourism industry in the Northern Areas was essential for its development. He gave master's degrees to 124 KIU students, belonging to the university's first batch. Earlier, in his welcome speech, KIU Vice-chancellor Dr Aziz Ali Najam briefed the president about the history of the KIU and said that the region had been bestowed with immense intellectual potential and talent, but it needed proper guidance and leading to produce capable scientists and engineers. He said that the university was facing shortage of water, electricity and communication facilities. He said that the university needed highly qualified faculty members to run its various departments, but, he said, most teachers were reluctant to join the university due to existing low pay scales. The president also visited Sost Birder town in upper Hunza to inaugurate Sost Dry Port, which is a joint venture of Pakistan and China. He will address a public gathering on Wednesday at Lalik Jan Shaheed Stadium in Gilgit Cantonment area. More than 15 federal ministers are also accompanying the presidential in his visit to the Northern Areas.