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Sunday November 28, 2021

Allegations levelled against acting VC SMIU

July 14, 2020

KARACHI: The Senate members of Sindh Madressatul Islam University (SMIU) have levelled serious allegations of alleged corruption, irregularities and misuse of authority on acting Vice-Chancellor of the University Dr. Muhammad Ali Shaikh in a letter written to chief minister Sindh, the competent authority for the universities of the province.

In a letter signed by some Senate members of the university (copy of which is available with The News), along with the copies of documents, it was alleged that Dr. Muhammad Ali Shaikh, recently after completing his second tenure as the vice-chancellor, got the acting charge of acting Vice-Chancellor and then he retired himself from the post of Professor of Grade 22 without the approval and information of competent authority i.e. the chief minister Sindh and availed all the financial benefits along with a pension.

Dr. Shaikh, who has recently retired from the post of Vice-Chancellor after completing the second tenure and been attached to the institution for the last many years, first as Principal and then as the VC, is also a candidate for the third term as VC.

The letter of the Senate members of university further says that Dr. Shaikh, despite retiring as a professor from the university, is drawing the salary of a regular VC Rs609,000 and pension of a retired professor Rs216,000 simultaneously, which is clearly in violation of rules and an obvious case of conflict of interest. In the same letter as evidence, the complete salary payroll and pension documents of Dr. Shaikh after his retirement were also attached.

The Senate members informed the CM Sindh that Dr. Shaikh had mentioned 32 years of service in his university documents. However, when he applied for the third tenure of the VC-ship, he mentioned in his CV that three years out of his 32 years service were spent as Director Zulifqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (ZABIST), Karachi, which is a private university and the experience cannot be counted in the government service, but Dr. Shaikh is availing financial benefits of those three years also.

The Senate members also claimed that they and other elected and general faculty members were being harassed by the university administration. They said that they had been issued unnecessary letters on informing about the corruption and irregularities in the university and they were also getting threats and were being unofficially approached and threatened.

The Senate members have requested the CM to save the university employees from mental and financial distress and the constant threats being given to elected and non-elected members of the faculty, demanded quick removal of Dr Shaikh and to appoint the senior-most dean or the registrar on the post of Acting VC.

The spokesman of Sindh Madressatul Islam University (SMIU), in his written detailed version, said that the letter written by the Senate members to the CM Sindh was in the knowledge of university management but the same was not received officially by the university.

However, the spokesman added that the letter under discussion bears the names of some lecturers of the university, who have been asked to verify whether they have actually forwarded the letter or the document bears their forged signatures and once they clarify their position, this office will be able to give further specific comments.

Regarding the substance of issues highlighted in the letter, in general terms he clarified that the appointment of the vice-chancellor rests with the CM on the recommendation of the Search Committee and it may not be made on the whims of some lecturers.

Regarding the meeting of statutory bodies, the SMIU has been holding them on time. However, holding the Senate meeting is the prerogative of the CM. As soon as approval is received, the meeting will be held. Regarding the victimization of faculty members and other irregularities, the allegations were completely denied.

Commenting upon the retirement and then applying as VC for the third term by acting VC Dr Shaikh, the spokesman added that the law relating to retirement is that after 25 years of service, every public servant has the right to retire. The pension and other benefits matter were verified by the AG Sindh and acting VC Mr Shaikh has more than 30 years of service and his retirement case was processed through the AG Sindh as per procedure, and the law as amended in 2018 does not bar for applying and competing for a fresh term if a person fulfills the eligibility criteria. It bars extension of the term to only once. As per law, it is Dr. Muhammad Ali Shaikh’s constitutional right to compete as a candidate.

Apart from the accusations of the Senate members against acting VC Shaikh and clarifications of VC, it is worth noting that the Sindh Madressatul Islam University (SMIU) is one of the oldest institutions in South Asia, which started as a school in 1885, became a college in 1943 and a university in February 2012. It was founded by a group of enlightened Muslims of Sindh, led by Hassan Ally Effendi, as the first modern Muslim educational institution of Sindh, where the founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah also got his initial education.