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March 4, 2021

Contracts renewal issue: ICU teachers continue boycott of classes

Peshawar

March 4, 2021

PESHAWAR: Teaching fraternity at the historic Islamia College University (ICU) on Wednesday continued their boycott of classes to press the university administration to accept their demand and issue contract letters to the contractual faculty members.

The class boycott was started three days ago after the unanimous decision of the general body of the Teaching Staff Association (, said Dr Dil Nawaz Khattak, president of the association.

The teachers had started their protest drive about a month ago. “We held several meetings with the acting vice-chancellor of the university Dr Jehan Bakht, but he had assured them that he would resolve the issue once he becomes full-time vice-chancellor of the university”, Dil Nawaz said.

He said it was a mere lame excuse. It was not a big issue, he could have issued contract letters to the teachers even in his acting capacity, he said.

Dr Jehan Bakht, who is full-time vice-chancellor of Agriculture University Peshawar and also having additional charge of the ICU, had been recommended as a top candidate on the list of a panel of three.

But the provincial cabinet turned down the proposal and recommended the No2 candidate Dr Gul Majeed Khan instead.

The cabinet members argued that since he was already serving as vice-chancellor of another leading university and a year of his tenure was still left, therefore, he should complete his tenure there first.

Some sources see other reasons behind not considering his name for the office. They believe that the teachers and officers in his parent university held a month-long protest against the vice-chancellor and had levelled serious allegations against him.

As a result of the protest campaign, the sources said, the vice-chancellor was forced to start holding a selection board for a number of teachers.

Dr Jehan Bakht, however, rejected all those allegations as baseless. He said that the selection board was not being arranged under pressure rather after following the required procedure the process was started.

Dr Dil Nawaz Khattak said that they have only one-point agenda – issuance of contract letters to the employees.

“The time the university administration issues renewed contract letters, we would call off our protest and class boycott,” he said.

He said that a total of 26 contractual teachers contracts have expired and fresh contracts are yet to be issued. And according to the act, no contract could be extended beyond three years, he said.

The historic ICU has been functioning without a regular vice-chancellor for the last nearly three years.

The policy of ad hocism has led to a number of serious problems. Majority of the universities in the province have been facing serious problems and protest campaigns in a number of them have already been started.

The government has failed to focus attention on the well-being of the public sector universities.