Joint Action Committee QAU releases fact sheet on land, Bhara Kahu Bypass issue

ISLAMABAD: Joint Action Committee Quaid-I-Azam University (QAU) Islamabad has released fact sheet on important issues pertaining to versity’s land and ongoing Bhara Kahu bypass.

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) is comprising of relevant stakeholders i.e Academic Staff Association, Officers Welfare Association, QAU Alumni Association, and Employees Welfare Association, a press release said.

According to the Fact Sheet, Bhara-Kahu Bypass project has far-reaching implications for the university; it violates the sanctity of the only National University of the country, it bisects the campus into two noncontagious barricaded parts, it separates the entire front of the university on Murree-road from rest of the main campus thus diminishing any chance of having a dedicated road access (from Murree-road) for the university, it is detrimental to the natural environment of the university area including extremely valuable Botanical Garden of the university, it violates the master plan of the university including sites reserved for National Research Centers.

The project would also consumes about 600 Kanals of precious university land rendering significant additional land unusable, while leaving about 2000 Kanals of most precious (front) university land at the mercy of land encroachers, and last but not the least, it destroys the peaceful academic and research environment by sowing the seeds of discord and unrest amongst students, faculty, alumni and employees of the university.

The bypass construction on university land started in September 2022 by breaking boundary wall of the university, establishing of camp site and concrete/asphalt plants on university land adjacent to QAU residential colony, and by cutting hundreds of mature trees, all without intimation let alone approval from university syndicate. Ironically, the project construction started without mandatory approval from the Pak-Environmental Protection Agency.

Showing serious concerns on the ongoing developments, QAU community, during past few weeks, has petitioned to University Syndicate, the Islamabad High Court, a Cabinet sub-committee, the Pak-EPA, and the Environmental Tribunal against this violation of QAU land.
QAU is the only National University envisioned in the original Islamabad Master Plan 1960 to be in the National Park area. Therefore, for this purpose, a total of 1709 acres, 4 kanals, and 12 marlas land in National Park area was acquired, payment of which was made by QAU, while paying an additional 10.5% to CDA as service charges.

QAU additionally houses seven National Research Centers/Institutes again consistent with the National Park definition in the Master Plan.

Therefore, a highway construction on QAU land is inconsistent with the Islamabad Master Plan.

As per road plan, the bypass on QAU land is designed as six-lane highway requiring 600 feet including ROW. This design will take at least one complete row of houses, a mosque and children playground, in the adjacent QAU residential colony.

Interestingly the bypass design is four-lane before and after the QAU area, where it is being constructed as six-lane, whose logic is beyond comprehension. Sharing alternative options, the Fact Sheet suggested possible solutions.

As per revised Islamabad Master Plan, the Northern and Southern Ring Road Bypasses are the real and long term solution of traffic congestion in Islamabad due to Murree/Galiyat/Northern Areas bound traffic from across Pakistan, whereas the congestion at Bara Kahu may be avoided by constructing an elevated road on the existing Murree Road, as announced by last two successive governments.

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