Sardar Masood Khan, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir, emphasized the need to further enhance the academic quality of AJK Universities and committed towards capacity building of the faculty and students.

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Palandri; The President made these remarks while addressing the inauguration ceremony of the Mirpur University of Science and Technology (MUST) sub-campus at Palandri here today. The ceremony was also attended by Ch Faisal Mushtaq, Minister for Human Rights, Minorities, Social Welfare and Population, Government of Punjab; Farooq Ahmed Tahir, Deputy Speaker, AJK Legislative Assembly; Dr. Najeeb Naqi, Minister Finance and Health, AJK; Sehrish Qamar, Member AJK Legislative Assembly; Prof. Dr. Habib-ur-Rehman, Vice Chancellor MUST; Prof. Dr. Haleem Khan, Vice Chancellor AJK Women University, Bagh and Prof. Khurshid Khan, Principal Cadet College Palandri.

President Masood Khan while addressing the audience expressed his happiness on coming to Sudhanoti which he said is the land of Ghazis and Shaheeds. He said that it was the vision of Khan Muhammad Khan that today Azad Kashmir enjoys the highest literacy rate in whole of Pakistan.

He stressed the need for providing quality higher education in all districts of AJK, thereby helping cater to students living in far-flung areas of AJK. He said that by introducing new and innovative disciplines in-sync with the job market, our universities would help produce the best human resource. The President stressed on investing heavily in building skilled and educated human resource as they are the real capital of a country. He also informed that AJK universities will organise job fairs for their students at their campuses.

“We shall consolidate our Universities qualitatively”, he said. He said we will focus on improving the quality at our public sector universities. We will focus on promoting a knowledge based economy which will contribute to the economic growth of Pakistan.

President AJK – who is also the Chancellor of Public Sector Universities of AJK – commended the University’s VC and management for effectively and efficiently working towards the timely inauguration of the sub-campus. He said that this sub-campus despite numerous hurdles is now ready to accept aspiring students for the coming academic year. Initially, Pallandri campus will provide degree courses in Law, Tourism and Hospitality, Forestry; and in the coming years Computer Systems Engineering and Environmental Engineering will be introduced. He also lauded the valuable assistance of the Higher Education Commission and Dr. Najeeb Naqi in facilitating the establishment of Palandri sub-campus.

President Masood said that our efforts will be focused towards establishing state of the art tertiary educational facilities with experienced and professional faculty members. He said that merit will not be compromised upon and by promoting innovation, research and academic collaborations with leading Pakistani and international universities we will ensure the best education is provided at all Public Sector Universities of AJK. He also informed that issues related to the Mong campus of Poonch University will be resolved soon.

The President said that AJK holds immense potential for tourism due to its natural beauty and the introduction of disciplines like Tourism and Hospitality would help immensely towards making it into a full-fledged industry. This, he said, would play an invaluable role in promoting tourism on professional grounds and in-turn positively contribute towards generating revenue for AJK. He added that plans are already underway to construct a 200 km long tourism corridor passing through all the tourist sites and districts of AJK. He said this corridor will have all the necessary infrastructure for attracting domestic and foreign tourists. Priority, he said, is being given to the development of the road network and quality lodging to facilitate the tourists.

President Masood Khan at the event also stressed the need to actively highlight the Kashmir issue. He said that our innocent brothers and sisters are being subjected to unimaginable torture at the hands of Indian occupation forces. They, he said, are being harassed, murdered, maimed, illegally incarcerated and the womenfolk are openly dishonoured. He urged the participants to join hands in raising the profile of the Kashmir conflict at all international forums.

Dr. Najeeb during his speech thanked the President for his guidance and said that the AJK Government is actively working for the welfare of the people. He said that the campus at Mong has had numerous teething problems but we will strive to make it fully functional and recognised with HEC.

Vice Chancellor MUST thanked the President for his continued support in helping establish the Pallandri campus. He added that a permanent building for the Palandri campus will be established soon and the PC-I for the project will submitted to HEC this year.

Later during the day, the President also distributed sewing machines amongst deserving women at government rest house Palandri. Deputy Commissioner Palandri Javed Iqbal and other officials of the District Administration were also present on the occasion.

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