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June 27, 2019

KP public sector universities: Deliberate attempt seen behind delay in advertising positions of three VCs


June 27, 2019

PESHAWAR: In an apparent bid to give extension to the blue-eyed vice-chancellors, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has been delaying advertising the positions of vice-chancellors of three public sector universities even though their term will expire in July.

The delay in advertising the positions is considered violation of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities Act, which clearly states that the post should be advertised six months prior to the completion of the tenure of the incumbent so that the process could be completed in time and the office may not remain vacant.

The three universities for which the positions have not been advertised include the historic Islamia College Peshawar, Women University Mardan and Bannu University of Science and Technology. Some reports suggest that the advertisements are deliberately being delayed in order to accord extension to the blue-eyed persons.

According to sources, Islamia College University, Peshawar Vice-Chancellor Dr Habib Ahmad is co-villager and relative of Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and is interested in giving him an extension. The Women University Mardan Vice-chancellor Dr Ghazala Nizam is the wife of principal secretary to the governor Nizamuddin Khan. The Vice-Chancellor Bannu University of Science and Technology, Dr Abid Ali Shah is reportedly being supported by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani. The sources said that the summary for giving extension to Dr Habib Ahmad as vice-chancellor of Islamia College University has already been moved, but it was returned by the Governor’s Secretariat to the Higher Education Department with certain observations.

If any of these vice-chancellors is given extension, it would be another violation of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities Act as the law says that any extension if given would be based on the Key Performance Initiatives (KPI). However, no such initiative has been approved yet.

In addition to these three universities, the vice-chancellors of five more universities are about to complete their term in July. Those positions were advertised on March 25, 2019 and candidates were asked to apply within 25 days. These universities include Hazara University, Mansehra, Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khan, Abbottabad University of Science and Technology, Women University, Swabi and Khushal Khan Khattak University, Karak.

After the publication of this advertisement, the teaching fraternity of Islamia College University sent a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan requesting him to ask the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to follow the law and advertise the post of their vice-chancellor also. The prime minister directed the Chief Secretary on May 7 to “take appropriate” action in line with the request and advertise the position forthwith. But despite passage of nearly two months of the prime minister’s directive, the post has not be advertised.

There have been serious allegations of favouritism, financial irregularities and academic incompetence made by teachers against Islamia College University Vice-Chancellor Dr Habib Ahmad. Even his eligibility for the prized position has been questioned. As had two third divisions in his academic career, it was argued that he is not even eligible for the post of a professor let alone vice-chancellor.

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