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August 7, 2020

Illegal recruitment: Seven AWKUM officials removed from service, 8 demoted

Peshawar

August 7, 2020

PESHAWAR: Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan has finally taken action against its 32 officials for their alleged involvement in illegal recruitment of some 273 regular and 170 contractual employees in 2016.

The employees were removed from the service some two years back. According to the university Registrar Mian Mohammad Saleem at least seven officials of the university have been removed from service, eight demoted to lower pay scale and a minor penalty was awarded to 17 others. Some reports suggested that personal likes and dislikes were made while taking the action. Certain sources in the university claimed that proper legal course was not adopted for taking the action. However, the registrar said that the issue started in 2015 when some positions in the university were advertised under advertisement no. 48.

In 2016 some 273 employees from BS 7 to 16 were recruited on regular and 170 on a contractual basis in line with the advertisement, he said. But, the process triggered criticism. Some candidates moved court. Others sent complaints to the National Accountability Bureau and while some approached the Higher Education Department expressing concerns over the recruitment process. Thus the university was forced to launch two inquiries - one initial and another by deans’ committee. The two presented recommendations before the syndicate. It is worth mentioning here that the recruitments were made during the tenure of Prof Dr Ihsan Ali as vice-chancellor. But the inquiries, etc were initiated by his successor Dr Khurshid in 2017.

The syndicate in a meeting on June 28, 2018, endorsed and approved the report of the deans’ committee and all the employees recruited under advertisement no. 48 were sacked. According to the university registrar, the syndicate decided to conduct an inquiry against the officials involved in the alleged illegal recruitments. A committee was formed to proceed with the show cause notices and submit its recommendations to the syndicate. Some officials moved the Peshawar High Court against the show-cause notices. Meanwhile, the university’s committee continued the process and called the officials concerned for a personal hearing. The recommendations were submitted before the syndicate, which approved them but the decision was kept sealed till the court verdict. The court decided in favour of the affected officials and quashed the show-cause notices. But the university moved the Supreme Court against the high court decision, which set aside the decision and thus the university took action against the officials allegedly involved in the process. After the Supreme Court decision, the university unsealed the decisions already taken by the syndicate and issued notifications accordingly. According to the decision, major penalty - removal from service - had been awarded to all the members of selection and promotion committee, who were seven in number. The penalty of demotion was awarded to eight officials, while minor penalty was given to seventeen other members of different committees formed for the recruitment process. The university’s decision triggered criticism from the affected employees and other officers and faculty members of the university. Some of the university officials said that the decision had ulterior motives. One official alleged that Qadir Bakhsh, who was a member of the selection and promotion committee and was removed from service, had a personal case against the acting vice-chancellor. Qadir Baloch had challenged the deanship of the pro-vice-chancellor on the grounds that he (pro-vice-chancellor) had been recruited on tenure track system (TTS) and any professor appointed on the TTS cannot be given administrative position. The case is still under trial at the Peshawar High Court. Another member of the committee, Saleemullah, who, too, had some seniority issues with the pro-vice-chancellor was dismissed from the university service. Sources believed likes and dislikes had been made as well in the process and a specific group was saved, while action has been taken against rivals. No action was taken against Adil Khan, who was heading the test committee and was serving as controller of the university now.

However, acting vice-chancellor Prof Dr Zahoorul Haq rejected the reports of personal likes and dislikes as baseless. Talking to The News, he said that Qadir Bakhsh had no personal issue with him. “He has actually moved court against chancellor’s decision, not me,” he explained. “As far as Saleemullah’s seniority issue was concerned, he too has withdrawn his case from the court”, he said. “Therefore, personal likes and dislikes are out of the question. No one can prove that I have taken any revengeful action against anyone. Who am I to take action against people. It was not my decision. It was a unanimous decision of the university syndicate which I only executed on the orders of the Supreme Court,” he remarked.