Misinterpretation of HEC notification: Malakand VC claims Rs7.47m arrears with retrospective effect

October 23, 2021

PESHAWAR: Days before the completion of his tenure University of Malakand Vice-Chancellor Dr Gul Zaman has claimed arrears worth Rs7.47 million with retrospective effect from October 2017 –...

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PESHAWAR: Days before the completion of his tenure University of Malakand Vice-Chancellor Dr Gul Zaman has claimed arrears worth Rs7.47 million with retrospective effect from October 2017 – the date of his appointment.

The claim was made, while misinterpreting a recent notification about fixation of salary package of vice-chancellors by the provincial government.

The Higher Education Department (HED) has expressed astonishment over the outgoing vice-chancellor’s act. A senior official of the department told The News that the notification regarding vice-chancellors’ salaries has been misinterpreted by Dr Gul Zaman.

“The notification was meant for the newly inducted vice-chancellors like that of Peshawar University, Kohat University and others, who have not yet drawn their first salary,” he said.

Claiming salary/arrears with retrospective effect from 2017 is not correct, he added.

The claim has brought the Malakand University’s vice-chancellor again to headlines after being found guilty of a number of wrongdoings in recruitments, victimizing faculty members and financial embezzlement.

The Senate of the university, which met recently, approved the recommendations of a high-level inquiry conducted against him and held him responsible for the mess in the university.

However, a favour was made with him by withholding the minutes of the meeting as avoiding to send him on forced leave or take any other punitive action against him as he was nearing completion of his four-year tenure.

Instead of facing any adverse action in the final days of his tenure, the outgoing vice-chancellor got a chance to get a handsome benefit in the shape of a questionable increase in his salary package, which he incorrectly claimed with retrospective effect from the date of his appointment as vice-chancellor.

The process of claiming and approving his arrears was completed within a day, documents (available with The News) showed.

Directives of preparation of bills for payment of the “arrears” were made on October 13 and approval from all the quarters and officials was acquired within 24 hours — October 14 — to ensure payment of the amount to the vice-chancellor before leaving his office on October 26.

The higher education department through a notification on October 6 announced salary packages for the vice-chancellors appointed through the academic and search committee. Dr Gul Zaman was the quickest enough to take benefit of the notification and revise their salary package.

The notification says: “Salaries of incumbent vice-chancellors, rectors, directors of degree-awarding institutions on the maximum pay of professor on tenure track package as announced by the HEC vide notification No: F.P.2-103/HEC/2015-16/1071 dated 15.10.2015.

The notification clearly mentions that the salary package will be all-inclusive and the incumbent will not be entitled to any other allowance such as house rent, conveyance, utility, PhD allowance and others as admissible under PBS and MP scale except the vice-chancellor allowance at the rate of 20 percent of basic salary.

The maximum salary of a Tenure Track Professor in accordance with HEC criteria is Rs507, 000, according to a notification on the HEC website.

If calculated, the salary of a vice-chancellor becomes a little more than Rs600,000 which includes the 20 per cent vice-chancellors’ allowance on their basic pay.

Similar to the vice-chancellors’ allowance, a tax at the rate of

20 percent is deducted from their salaries. Therefore, their salary comes down to half a million again after the tax deduction. “A sum of Rs110,000 is deducted from our salaries as tax,” said

the vice-chancellor of another university.

Malakand University is situated in an area, which is exempted from taxes and thus Dr Gul Zaman fixed his salary in line with the new notification — Rs601400 — and wrongly claimed arrears with retrospective effect, which has drawn strong criticism.

Reached for comments, spokesman for the university, Mairajul Hameed told The News that the process was done in a transparent manner and duly approved by the relevant quarters.

No anomaly has been committed in fixation of the salary and calculation of the arrears, he claimed.

There was no objection or reservation from the audit committee and the finance and planning committee over the matter, he added.

“However, certain elements in the university were bent upon making an issue out of it for personal gains,” he alleged.

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