Association claims action taken against Fuuast teachers campaigning for removal of university’s acting vice chancellor; KU VC says varsity’s financial conditions unsatisfactory
The Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology’s (Fuuast) tactic of stopping salary payments to five teachers and issuance of show-cause notices to five more is tantamount to blackmailing, declared president of the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Associations (Fapuasa) Dr Kaleemullah Breach.
Speaking to The News on Tuesday, the Fapuasa president stated that the action was taken without the varsity’s administration issuing an official notification to the teachers. The action was apparently taken against teachers who were actively campaigning for the removal of Fuuast’s acting vice chancellor, Prof Sulaiman D Muhammad.
Dr Bareach termed the action a blatant violation of law. He stated that after the University of Karachi’s (KU) plagiarism committee ruled that his PhD thesis was plagiarised, there is no legal justification left for allowing Prof Muhammad too continue serving as the varsity’s acting VC.
“Complete silence of the Fuuast’s chancellor, President Mamnoon Hussain, highly influenced Senate and a dysfunctional administration has brought a great institution on the verge of collapse.” Prof Bareach observed.
The teachers’ representative stated that it seemed as if deliberate efforts to deprive Karachi of another federal level institution are underway. Warning Fuuast’s administration to do away with its vindictive politics against teachers, he said the administration should work towards bettering the institution rather than protecting an individual.
Fapuasa secretary general, Dr Shakeel Farooqi, while condemning the issuance of show-cause notices to five teachers said withdrawal of the notices is inevitable. “Protest of the teachers on issues that have been agreed upon by all relevant institutions does not deserve a show-cause notice,” he added.
He said the Urdu university’s administration is burying itself deeper in problems by issuing such notices. “With each passing day, the pressure of explaining its tactics is building on the administration; and it cannot be escaped.”
Furthermore, Dr Farooqi observed that not paying two months’ salaries to another five teachers without accepting the responsibility is another gross violation of law and evidence of maladministration in a troubled institution; all concerned officials will be held liable, he said.
According to him, there are dozens of cases where the apex court ruled that salaries cannot be stopped, not even of a suspended employee. “Weak excuses cannot hide financial irregularities, and a breach of basic human rights warrant serious accountability and consequences.”
He urged the Fuuast administration to clear dues of all the teachers before Eid-ul-Fitr. As per Fapuasa, the acting vice chancellor of the Fuuast, according to a report of KU’s plagiarism committee was found to have plagiarised his PhD programme thesis and that the Sindh High Court (SHC) had only a few days ago disposed of Prof Muhammad’s petition challenging the report.
The association’s office-bearers observed that Fuuast has been plagued by maladministration, whereas corruption charges have been levelled against one vice chancellor after the other. However, they stated that owing to a complete and mysterious silence of the chancellor’s office, and Higher Education Commission’s intermittent and selective interest has helped both the removed and acting vice chancellors in dragging the cases in courts for years.
‘KU’s poor financial conditions’
Low grants and over hiring have rendered KU’s financial conditions unsatisfactory, observed KU’s vice chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Ajmal Khan at a consultative meeting held with the varsity’s faculty members.
However, he added that the Rs2.5 billion allocated for the varsity by the government and the HEC will serve towards the betterment of the university.
“In the past, KU used to rank among top 200 varsities of the world, now it is not even counted among the top 800 universities,” the VC stated. He added that quality education and research were made KU’s key priorities, “This year a record number of 1,785 research papers of KU faculty members were published,” he added.
The KU VC assured the teachers that each and every appointment will be made on merit and that no compromise would be done in this regard. “My priorities are to establish a medical college and hospital at the varsity and computerise KU’s system.”
The faculty members assured the VC of every possible support and vowed to contribute in uplifting the varsity’s financial and academic position.
The meeting held at the council room of the Faculty of Social Sciences was attended by a large number of faculty members, chairmen including Dr Muhammad Ahmed Qadri and director Office of Research, Innovation and Commercialisation Dr Majid Mumtaz.