Islamabad: (Parliament Times) Chief Coordinator, Academic Council on the United Nations System Vienna, Dr. Afsar Rathor on Wednesday called on AJK president Sardar Masood Khan at Kashmir House in Islamabad.
During the meeting matters concerning enhancement of higher education opportunities, steps for promoting tourism and bolstering foreign investment in AJK were discussed in detail. President AJK said that higher education is a priority for the current Government in AJK. He said that currently, we have 05 public sector universities, 03 medical colleges, 02 cadet colleges and scores of postgraduate colleges all over AJK. Furthermore, he said, Azad Kashmir has emerged as the most literate region in the whole of Pakistan and enjoys an 85% literacy rate. He added that Azad Kashmir had out-competed all other regions in overall educational score, enrollment, learning, retention, and gender parity.
In the coming years, said President Masood Khan, we will be focusing on enhancing the quality of education and investing in academic research, critical thinking, and innovation. He further said that we need to sharpen our skills and update our higher education curricula in order to fully exploit the dynamic job market.
Dr. Rathor expressed his interest in promoting collaborations between public sector universities of AJK and various universities of Austria, including the University of Austria. The President said AJK Universities would be keen on establishing partnerships with Austrian universities and help provide global exposure to their students and faculty members. He added that constructive steps will be taken for ensuring Post-Doctorate courses, split degree programs and general collaboration between AJK Universities and the University of Austria.
The President said that there is a huge traffic of tourists to Azad Kashmir in the summer season but currently the requisite facilities are not in place to absorb such large numbers. He said that a ‘Tourism Corridor’ will be built in AJK which will include expansion and up-gradation of existing roads, standard motels with modern facilities, theme parks and tourist facilitation centers. He added special emphasis will be given to promoting eco-tourism.
President AJK said that with the inclusion of AJK in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, huge investment opportunities will be made available for local and international investors. Highlighting the projects under the auspices of CPEC, the President said that a Special Economic Zone will be made according to international industrial standards in Mirpur which will be connected to the Western CPEC Route via the Mansehra-Mirpur Expressway.