The Punjab government has agreed to provide a piece of land to the Gilgit-Baltistan government to construct a 500-room hostel for women studying in Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
According to a statement issued by the Governor House on Thursday, the agreement was reached between G-B Governor Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in Lahore. “In addition to the hostel, a cultural centre will also be constructed on 20 kanals of land,” read the statement.
It is believed more than 10,000 women from G-B are living in cities across the country to pursue their studies.
An official told The Express Tribune, Shahbaz vowed to provide land for the hostel after the G-B governor told him about the problems faced by women from the region who are studying in other parts of Pakistan.
“Shahbaz realised the hardships of students and promised to provide land to set up an accommodation facility,” he said. According to the official, the G-B governor also emphasised the need to set up a centre to promote the region’s culture in an effective manner.
Shahbaz also vowed to expand quotas for G-B students in medical, engineering and art colleges across Punjab. “Scholarships will be provided to students on the basis of their academic performance,” the official said. The official added Shahbaz also guaranteed more seats would be provided to doctors from G-B at teaching hospitals.
“The Punjab CM also agreed to hold capacity-building programme for G-B officials in Lahore and other parts of Punjab,” the official said.
He added this will improve efficiency among officials.
Sigh of relief
The decision to set up the hostel has been hailed as a major achievement for the G-B government.
“If [the hostel is set up], I’ll be quite happy,” said Rahim Khan, a resident of Gilgit who has sent his daughter to study in Islamabad. “The lack of accommodation in the cities is a major hindrance for families who send their children to study outside G-B.”
Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2016.