Lahore Garrison University VC Maj-Gen. Obaid Bin Zakria — The creator of Tank Al-Zarrar
LGU VC says PHEC is struggling for devolution of power
Neither HEC nor Punjab Govt give us any grant
LGU has 3500 students, 270 teachers
Interview by Shabbir Sarwar and Ali Arshad
Photos Credit: Ali Arshad
Lahore Garrison University Vice Chancellor Major General (retired) Obaid Bin Zakria has said that he want to see LGU among top 500 universities of the world and top 20 in Pakistan after next five year. “We I took charge the university was in vacuum, as there there were no VC, no Registrar, no Controller Examinations and no Treasurer. Now a lot of things are coming to LGU, we are collaborating with Chinese, Malaysians and others for entrepreneurship of our students. I believe on practical work.” Following are more details of The Educationist discussion with him:
The Educationist: Sir, tell us about your early life & higher education?
Maj-Gen. (r) Obaid Bin Zakria: I belong to Punjab Gojjra near Faisalabad. My father was an army officer. I did my Metric from Jhelum then I came in FC College for F.Sc Pre Engineering in 1972. Later, I joined UET Lahore and did my B.Sc Electrical Engineering in 1977. Then I joined Army Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. Actually I had joined Army in 1972 and I was in UET as a nominee of Army for five year for study. After almost 36 years services I retire from armed forces last year.
The Educationist: How was your military service career?
Maj-Gen. (r) Obaid Bin Zakria: During my career I had been appointed on various posts like academic, managerial, mechanical and others, I was the Pro Vice Chancellor of NUST. Academically I am B.Sc EE, M.Sc Software Engineering and M.Sc in War Studies. On diplomatic appointments I was in China fro more than five years, responsible for quality and research oriented projects. China is the living example how to do the things in a right way. Similarly I was appointed in Ministry of Defense Production which was looking after 350 industries basically equipment production.
The Educationist: What potential you see we can earn from foreign exchange through the selling of defense production?
Maj-Gen. (r) Obaid Bin Zakria: We have good worth and quality of defense production we can compete with many countries but there are two elements one is you should also have a diplomatic support. You have heard all the embassies have promotion councilors for promotion of the countries’ product. Second thing, it is this is a very expensive game, lots of money is require. We are selling production like thunder aircraft. Tank Al-Zarrar is my Tank from the drawing board to practical implementation, it was my project.
UAV drone are being produced here. We have lots of talent and skilled peoples in our country. We can earn a lot in defense production.
The Educationist: After taking charge as Vice Chancellor, what was the major
challenge for you?
Maj-Gen. (r) Obaid Bin Zakria: When I took charge it (LGU) was totally in vacuum. There was no VC, no Registrar, no Controller Examinations and no Treasurer over there. New team has to be brought in, and we are going up now.
The Educationist: What difference you feel in civil & military educational institutes?
Maj-Gen. (r) Obaid Bin Zakria: I did not find any difference. because during my most of appointments I had been dealing with civilians. There were 2,000 students in NUST when I retire, in electrical engineering, mecha-tonics engineering and others. From military side I was the Commandant of EME College. LGU started from colleges. I have been organizing enterpreneurship seminars in Pakistan at a par with international standards.
The Educationist: There is a perception that LGU gives admissions out of merit to the children of army officers. Is it true and what is the admission criteria?
Maj-Gen. (r) Obaid Bin Zakria: No, its wrong but we are more facilitating for army. Because this is in our charter.
We have quota system we do not go out of merit. 20-25 % from army martyrs, 55 percent are civilians. On merit side we cannot cross the merit criteria. Similarly we have quota system on sports
The Educationist: What is the student teacher ratio in LGU?
Maj-Gen. (r) Obaid Bin Zakria: There are 270 teachers and 3500 students in the university. Out of total 270 teachers 18 are PhDs with 16 visiting faculty, but 35 faculty members are PhD scholars and they are finishing their PhD theses.
The Educationist: How do you see devolution of higher education in the form of Punjab Higher Education Commission?
Maj-Gen. (r) Obaid Bin Zakria: I think the tasks of HEC are so huge and challenging , as you know all good moves have to be done and executed well. Unfortunately they are not able to get devolution of power and still they are fighting. This should have been done and responsibilities should be fixed. Somebody has to have a bigger heart and somebody has to have compromising attitude. The idea is very good but it should be more functional. When we ask about funding they say we have no funds ask from HEC Islamabad, when we have some problem they say you are from Punjab go there and Punjab says ask to HEC. Things must be settled down now. Both HECs are still fighting.
The Educationist: HEC gives you any grant or funds for LGU?
Maj-Gen. (r) Obaid Bin Zakria: There is zero funding from HEC. It (funding) is totally by Army, the Army provided us land and infrastructure. Their support is big.
The Educationist: Where do you see LGU after five years?
Maj-Gen. (r) Obaid Bin Zakria: I want to see LGU among top 500 universities of the world and top 20 in Pakistan.
The Educationist: How you are preparing to move forward towards this change?
Maj-Gen. (r) Obaid Bin Zakria: I have recently received three delegations from China and other countries they are ready to collaborate with us. I have been inviting people. We are collaborating with Chinese, Malaysians and other countries for entrepreneurship for our students. We are moving forward in a practical manner.
Lots of things are coming to LGU in near future. I believe in practical work, I can write 100 papers but thing is what you have on ground. We have Social Sciences, Business Sciences and also have Computer Sciences. We are doing practical training of our human resource, both teachers and students. We are going to design a Sports City in LGU along with a swimming pool ground. We would upgrade LGU at a fast pace.