ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday announced to establish Islamabad National University at PM’s House, fulfilling one of his election promises.

Speaking at the launch ceremony for Islamabad National University here, Prime Minister Khan said with the objective of promoting education, particularly higher education, the establishment of Islamabad National University at PM House would set the country’s direction right in terms of human development.

The Prime Minister said no nation can make progress without quality education. He said education was imperative for progress and development.

Imran Khan said China and Singapore made major economic development through quality education. He said the focus of his government was the promotion of education.

After his victory in Pakistan’s general election held on July 25, Prime Minister Imran Khan had promised an ambitious education agenda and announced during his success speech that he intended to convert the Prime Minister’s House into a centre of higher education.

The cricketer-turned politician, who is a graduate of the University of Oxford, had criticised the vast and lavish residence of the Prime Minister located near Margalla Hills of Islamabad, calling it a symbol of exploitation of the poor people.

He had said: “I will not live in the PM House and will convert it into an educational institution where common people have access.”

The residence of Pakistan’s prime minister and other such places like the residence of the president of Pakistan and office-cum-residences of provincial governors and chief ministers are secluded, protected places, but PM Khan vowed to convert them into universities during his election campaign.

Recently he also opened Governor’s Houses for people. The President’s House was also opened for the public on specific days.

Imran Khan had also announced a plan to convert the house of the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province into a public library, but this did not materialise during the previous five years of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf rule.

Prime Minister Khan emphasised the overall standard of education would be improved. He assured full cooperation to Higher Education Commission for providing quality education to youth.

Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood in his remarks said establishment of this university is fulfillment of PTI’s promise and it shows government’s commitment for improvement of education quality in the country.

He said Islamabad National University will act as a modern centre of learning to meet the demands of 21st century. Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing also spoke on the occasion and stressed the need to enhance the literacy rate in Pakistan.

PTI had promised in its 2018 election manifesto to establish at least 10 technical education universities in collaboration with renowned partners from around the globe.

“We will provide public scholarships and set up a National Endowment Fund for international universities, and provide international distance-learning opportunities for tertiary education,” states the party manifesto.

The party also promised to regulate university curriculums to include compulsory courses on communication, reasoning and information technology, and to introduce transparency in the appointments of university leaders, as the manifesto states.

“We will remove political influence and create an independent, transparent mechanism to select vice-chancellors and senior administrators,” it pledged.

German Ambassador to Pakistan Martin Kobler appreciated Prime Minister Imran Khan initiative to turn former PM’s House into a research-based university.

The Ambassador took to Twitter saying: Great initiative of Prime Minister Imran Khan to have former PM House turned into research based Islamabad National University!”

Tagging Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood, he said: “Its four thematic areas governance, development, climate & technology are of great relevance for Pakistan’s future!” Kobler added that Pakistan needed more scholars.