Thursday, August 19, 2004

Building for IT institute inaugurated at KU

Building for IT institute inaugurated at KU
Reported in DAWN

KARACHI, Aug 19: A new building constructed with the financial support of a US-based NGO for an information technology institute was inaugurated at the University of Karachi on Thursday. The Computer Science department of Karachi University, established in 1985, presently housed in the Aiwan-i-Iqbal hostel building, will now be shifted to the new building and upgraded as the Umaer Basha Institute of Information Technology at the beginning of the first semester of the varsity's 2005 session. The building of the institute, made like that of the IT department of the Massachusists Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston, USA, has a total construction area of 68,000sq-ft comprising three floors and built at a cost of Rs56 million mainly donated by the Umaer Basha Foundation, USA, and the KU, Project Director Dr S M Aqil Burney said. The other donors are president of Pakistan and the Higher Education Commission. President Gen Pervaiz Musharraf had laid the foundation stone of the institute in March, 2002. According to Dr Fatima Zehra Basha, she had dedicated the building, named after her son Omaer, a student at MIT, who died young, to the Pakistani students with the hope that the institute would be able to compete with any other university in the world in the filed of computer and information technology. Addressing the UBIT students, she said: "My young friends, the institute has been designed to look beyond today. I look forward to you for defining UBIT as a centre of excellence through your enthusiasm, devotion, commitment, and through can-do attitude of working together will cultivate a culture of excellence. Focus on excellence in every aspect of your life. You, your families and the nation at large will benefit from this." In his speech, the chief guest of the ceremony, Dr Atta-ur-Rehman, the in charge minister of science and technology, appreciated the support of the Basha family and said that the building would symbolize the great love of the family for the University of Karachi, the country and its people. He hoped that the UBIT would prove a major step towards national development, higher education and research. If we pay due attention to education of manpower and promoted the culture of knowledge and research, we would be able to tackle issues pertaining to democracy and corruption as well, he mentioned. The KU Vice-Chancellor, Dr Pirzada Qasim, said that the students of the university could repay the donors by contributing to the fast expanding world of IT. He informed the audience that the Dr Fatima Basha and her husband Dr Anwer Basha were the KU students and had a desire to do some thing for their alma mater, and it was the sudden loss of their beloved son, which pushed them to complete the project in minimum possible time. The vc said that the Higher Education Commission had also created an endowment fund of Rs179 million to support the research activities and the PhD programme of institute. Among others, the dean of Science faculty, Dr Muhammad Qaiser, the acting director of the HEJ Institute of Chemistry, Dr Iqbal, the chairman of the Computer Science department, Dr Nasir Touheed, Amina Ferheen Basha, daughter of Dr Fatima Basha, also spoke on the occasion. Dr Touheed said that the institute would serve as a focal point with its state-of-the-art building, teaching and research facilities for over 1,600 students and scholars. He urged the minister to ensure high-salary package for the institute's faculty members.
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