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SHC restrains search committee from finalising names for FUUAST VC


October 23, 2020

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has restrained the search committee for the appointment of the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (Fuuast) vice chancellor (VC) from finalising names of the VC till further orders.

The interim order came on a petition of Mohammad Ziauddin who sought a direction for the search committee to assess his candidature for the VC’s post. The petitioner’s counsel submitted that his client was eligible and qualified for the post of the FUUAST VC; however, his candidature was wrongly declined without calling him for an interview and the committee had discriminated against him by not hearing him as provided under the Article 10-A of the Constitution.

The counsel submitted that the respondents, search committee members, were bound to comply with the Section 24-A of the General Clause Act 1897. He submitted that the search committee members had committed malpractice by finalising their favourite candidates, which defeated the very purpose of the advertisement made for the purpose of the appointment of the VC on September 17, 2019.

The counsel submitted that the acting VC was acting against the law and blue-eyed candidates were being qualified for the position of the VC. He informed the SHC that the petitioner had impugned the entire recruitment process initiated after the publication of the advertisement and requested the court to restrain the respondents from conducting interviews for the post of the FUUAST VC.

A division bench of the SHC headed by Justice Adnanul Karim Memon, after a preliminary hearing of the petition, issued notices to the search committee, FUUAST and others and called their comments on November 5. The high court, in the meantime, restrained the search committee from finalising names for the VC’s post till further orders.

Graft case

The National Accountability Bureau’s top prosecutor on Thursday informed an accountability court in a letter that they had completed their arguments in a graft case against Fishermen Cooperative Society (FCS) former chairman Dr Nisar Ahmed Jan alias Nisar Morai and others.

Following the letter from the NAB’s prosecutor general, the accountability court-I put the case on final arguments till the next hearing on October 26. The court directed the defence to submit their arguments on the trial so that the case could proceed forward.

The anti-graft watchdog had filed a reference with the accountability courts administrative judge in January 2018, accusing the then FCS chief Morai, former chief Abdul Saeed Khan, former vice chairman Sultan Qamar Siddiqui and 10 other officials and contractors of misusing their authority, embezzling funds, making illegal appointments and awarding fake contracts during 2014-15.

According to the reference, the accused caused a loss of Rs343 million to the national exchequer. It said Morai joined the FCS as a director in 2013 and within a year rose to become its chairman, contrary to the rules as he was already holding a public office as a medical officer in the Sindh health department.

It added that Morai allegedly made over 300 illegal appointments in the FCS against the due process and misappropriated funds. Khan was accused of making 155 illegal appointments and Siddiqui was accused of getting his father-in-law, brother-in-law and other relatives appointed in the society against the law.

Morai, who is a prominent local figure in the Pakistan Peoples Party, was arrested by Rangers in March 2016 and subsequently detained for 90 days under the special powers given to the paramilitary force through the Anti-Terrorism Act. Along with this corruption case, Morai faces other cases, including the murder case of 1998 chairman of Pakistan Steel Mills, Sajjad Hussain.