KARACHI: Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah pledged on Wednesday to allocate land in Education City for the establishment of a Catholic university.
"Your services in the education and health sectors are praiseworthy and I hope you will run the university to the best of your abilities," the CM said in a meeting with a delegation of Catholic Christians led by Archbishop of Karachi Joseph Coutts. The meeting's participants included Vicar General Archbishop of Karachi Father Saleh Diego, St Patrick's Cathedral Principal Mario Rodrigues and St Jude's School Principal Afzal Jacob among others. Health Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro, former special assistant to CM Naveed Anthony, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MPA Saeed Ghani and Principal Secretary to CM Sohail Rajput were also with the CM on the occasion.
Shah told the delegation that the schools being run by the Catholic Board of Education have produced a large number of bureaucrats, technocrats and professionals. "Therefore, you deserve to have a university in Education City located on the link road connecting the National Highway with the Super Highway," he said.
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The delegation requested the CM to help resolve issue of the YMCA ground. The ground belongs to the Catholics, claimed the delegation, adding that some influential persons grabbed it through an illegal agreement with an employee of the ground. "We have filed a case and presently the nazir of the high court looks after it," they said, urging the CM to resolve the issue. Shah remarked that he had himself played cricket in the ground when he was a student. He assured the delegation that the government would support them.
The delegation also raised the issue of lack of burial space for Christians in the city. The cemetery on Sharae Faisal, commonly known as Gora Qabristan, has been filled, they said explaining the need for another space for a graveyard. The CM through his principal secretary sent their request to the Board of Revenue so that it could identify a land for the graveyard for Christians.
The issue of the expired lease of Merry Well Old Age, Garden West was also brought up at the meeting. The delegation complained to the CM that officers concerned were creating problems about renewing the lease, prompting him to issue directives for the lease's renewal.
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It was pointed out during the meeting that schools are registered by the government for three years, after which the registration has to be renewed. The delegation contended that most of the schools run by Catholic Christians have completed 100 years but even then they have to be registered again after every three years.
"This does not seem fair but this is the way the government regulates education in the private sector," Shah explained, adding that "the institutions which have completed a considerable period of service should be exempted from renewal of registration". The CM directed the education department to send him a proposal to address the issue.
Shah also assured the delegation that the issues of encroachments, water scarcity and sanitation in Essa Nagri will be addressed.