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Tuesday November 30, 2021

Transparent inquiry into huge salary, perks of ex-VC AWKUM stressed

June 16, 2020

PESHAWAR: The finance and planning committee in its recent meeting of Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan (AWKUM) has taken strong exception of the salary and perks enjoyed by former vice-chancellor of the university during his three-year tenure, which he left several months prior to completion and left abroad.

The members of the committee stressed transparent inquiry into the matter and recovery of the funds misused and extra amounts taken by the former vice-vice-chancellor Dr Khurshed Khan. The former vice-chancellor had joined the university on July 2, 2017, for a three-year tenure which was supposed to expire on July 2, 2020. But, he left the tenure incomplete several months before completion and went back to England, which he is a dual national of, according to reliable sources. The committee discussed that the former vice-chancellor’s salary had been fixed in pounds equivalent to Rs 0.8 million, the highest pay received by any government official in the country.

In addition, the provincial government approved Rs 0.6 million Diaspora allowance to the former vice-chancellor. Thus in total, the vice-chancellor was receiving a lump sum salary of Rs 1.4 million. The official had also occupied the 17 bedroom guest house in Islamabad wherefrom he used to come to the university on a daily basis. The monthly rent of the guest house meant for the faculty and officials of the university had been fixed at Rs 0.6 million per month as any official staying there had to pay Rs 6000 per night. During the tenure of Khurshid Khan, the facility remained closed for other officials of the university. The former vice-chancellor had also occupied the vice-chancellor’s house near the university campus. The university’s guest houses in Abbottabad and Ayubia also remained under his personal use and he didn’t pay even a single penny for it nor could any deduction be made from his salary. More interestingly, the former vice-chancellor would conduct frequent visits to other countries especially England and he would charge the university for his airfare and other allowances. The committee was informed by the treasurer of the university, when a question about the diaspora allowance was raised, that the three-month allowance amounting to Rs 1.8 million after the departure of the former vice-chancellor has been returned to the province. The allowance had been approved by the former chief minister of the province without the approval of the chancellor, which is totally illegal, a member of the committee told The News.

The committee decided that as the allowance had been exclusively allocated for Khurshid Khan, it should not be reflected in the university’s budget for the year 2020-21. The members of the committee stressed the need for upholding the spirit of transparency and conducting an inquiry into the matters pertaining to Budget 19-20 in light of the observations raised by respected elected members of the Senate. However, it was learnt reliably that the current administration of the university was trying to avoid inquiry into the matter and hush up the issue. The members of the committee have even expressed serious reservations over the minutes of the 18th meeting for the finance and planning committee and alleged that the minutes have been forged. The faculty and officials of the university have demanded of those at the helm of affairs to look into the matter properly and ensure fair play. The position for the vice-chancellor of AWKUM has already been advertised and process for appointment of a new vice-chancellor is underway.