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HEC tries to allay security concerns of foreign partners

ISLAMABAD, Aug 27: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) is actively trying to persuade its foreign partners to implement their plans to set up of nine engineering universities after they expressed concern over the worsening security situation in the country.

According to a well-placed official, two or three universities had planned to start academic activities from October in rented buildings but the move was postponed till later next year.

The government is funding the project. The management of the proposed universities, including the vice-chancellor and the faculty, are to come from different partner countries.

The project, costing between Rs250 and Rs300 billion over the next 10 years, was first delayed by of the Lal Masjid operation and subsequently by a series of suicide bombings, creating doubts about the project timely completion.

Almost half of the countries involved in the project have asked the HEC to inform them about the security arrangement during their citizens' stay in Pakistan, the official said.

He said it was too early to say anything about the projects' fate, but its current pace suggested that its completion would definitely take more time.

HEC's executive director Dr Sohail Naqvi said: "The setting up of nine world-class engineering universities is not a small task. It will definitely take some time."

"Security is one of the major concerns and the HEC is taking all possible steps to provide foolproof security to the faculty and their families during their stay in Pakistan," Dr Naqvi said.

Expressing optimism about the timely completion of the project, he said: "We are hopeful the universities would start offering admissions by October next year," he said. Dawn
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