The Kingdom of Bahrain is funding the construction of the first ever state-of-the-art Nursing university in Islamabad. For the project’s establishment, a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between the government and National Logistics Cell (NLC). This MoU will designate NLC to build the nursing university even during the lockdown.
According to the Ministry of National Health Services, this institute will be called ‘King Hamad University of Nursing and Associated Medical Sciences’. Unfortunately, the project showed no progress since the past four years. The ministry’s spokesperson, Sajid Shah, shared that it was hence decided to expedite the process despite the spread of the coronavirus.
Shah also revealed that the NHS ministry has obtained possession of the land on which the university will be built. Accordingly, they paid their dues to the Capital Development Authority (CDA). They have also approved a PC-I to build a fence around the land and obtain utility services.
The land procured for university expands over 237 kanals, on Park Road in Chak Shahzad, in Islamabad. Reports say that the university will cater to 2,000 students with 500 annual admissions. It will also have residential facilities for 1,000 women students on campus.
Origin of the project
In 2014, Bahrain’s King Hamad announced his funding of a nursing university as a gift for Pakistan. They decided to distribute the responsibilities between the two countries; where Pakistan would arrange land and utility services for the facility, while Bahrain would fund its construction. Then, in July 2016, a delegation from Bahrain visited Islamabad to finalize the project. However, this came to a halt due to unavailability of land.
January 2017 saw the then Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, laying the foundation stone at the University’s proposed site. There, he was accompanied by dignitaries from Bahrain, however, operational obstacles stalled the ceremony. The possession of land was still not obtained because 700 people filed applications with the CDA. They stated ownership of the land in question; which was located in the constituency of the then Minister for Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD), Dr. Tariq Fazal Chaudhry.
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With the project overdue, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi called upon related parties in September 2017 for discussion. He directed the CADD ministry to address the land issue, however, the NHS ministry still could not be given possession of the land.
Kickstart after PTI came to the forefront
After PTI came into power, Minister Aamer Mehmood Kiani announced some change of plans. He prearranged the university’s establishment in the National Institute of Health (NIH). Thereafter, they alloted the land in Chak Shahzad to NIH.
However, then Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mian Saqib Nisar intervened and redirected orders. He decided to hand over the land, in Chak Shahzad, to the NHS Ministry. Thereafter, Chak Shahzad became the designated land for KHUNAMS.
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Last year, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on NHS, Dr. Zafar Mirza spoke to the Health Minister of Bahrain. This interaction came up at a meeting held at World Health Assembly in Geneva, where and she assured him a role in starting the project. Then onwards, the project saw the light of day; and now it is possible for NLC to build the awaited nursing university.
Before this, the nursing sector in Pakistan did not have any dedicated institute for quality education. There is a rising need for quality medical professionals in this pandemic. Hence, the construction of such a university would cause strides in the country. The university will also symbolize firm bonds of brotherhood and friendship between Pakistan and Bahrain.