AJK varsity, P&D ink MoU to promote strategic policy research

Syed Abbas Gardezi
Thursday, Feb 29, 2024

MUZAFFARABAD: The University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (UAJK) and the planning and development (P&D) department on Wednesday embarked on a groundbreaking collaboration aimed at promoting evidence-based research and offering crucial insights for policymakers.

The collaboration was formalised through the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the city campus, where dignitaries, including varsity Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr Muhammad Kaleem Abbasi, Additional Chief Secretary (Development) GoAJK, Midhat Shehzad and other distinguished officials from both the government and UAJK were present.

Representing their respective institutions, Planning and Development Secretary Amir Latif Awan and Dr Rauf Ahmed Janjua, Director of the Office of Research, Innovation, and Commercialisation (ORIC), UAJK, formally executed the signing of the MoU.

Under the terms of the MoU, both the P&D and UAJK will jointly host policy papers and seminar series focusing on the mutually agreed upon themes concerning socioeconomic challenges and opportunities in the region.

The primary goal is to formulate research-based solutions to address policy challenges encountered by stakeholders and disseminate the findings through dialogue sessions (seminars), print and electronic media, and other appropriate channels.

The UAJK will provide need-based research support to the P&D on specific topics and issues faced by Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Additionally, the P&D will establish a framework to facilitate the GoAJK employees in pursuing Executive MPhil, PhD, and other higher degree programmes in relevant subjects at the UAJK, offering evening or weekend classes with minimal enrollment requirements.

The MoU underscores mutual support between the institutions for initiatives related to capacity building for the government and UAJK employees, with provision for additional related activities subject to mutual agreement.

Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr Muhammad Kaleem Abbasi emphasised the significance of the collaboration, stating: “This partnership represents a commitment to advancing knowledge and addressing critical issues in our region through research and academic endeavors.”

He highlighted the fundamental objectives of universities including education, research, innovation, and societal contribution, stressing that this agreement signifies a significant step towards advancing community engagement.

Dr Abbasi underscored the transformative potential of the agreement, positioning it as the initial stride towards fostering sustainable economic and social progress within the region through collaborative efforts between the two institutions.

Further endorsing this sentiment, Additional Chief Secretary (Development) Midhat Shahzad said, “The partnership between UAJK and P&D is a commendable initiative that aligns with our shared goal of fostering growth and development in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.”

She stressed the importance of integrating university research findings into governmental strategies for sustainable development planning, highlighting the agreement’s role in fostering collaboration between governmental entities and academic institutions.

Midhat Shahzad expressed unwavering resolve in signing the MoU, anticipating its pivotal role as a cornerstone for future sustainable development initiatives within the state.