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Saturday December 04, 2021

High court continues stay order regarding appointment of KU VC

March 05, 2021

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday continued the interim restraining order with regard to the finalisation of the appointment of the University of Karachi’s (KU) vice chancellor (VC) till the verification in respect of candidates’ credentials and 25 research publications are obtained from the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC).

The interim order came on the petition of Prof Mohammad Ahmed Qadri and Prof Moonis Ahmer challenging the selection criteria of the search committee for the KU VC’s appointment.

The petitioners’ counsel Abrar Hasan submitted that the search committee was attempting to single out petitioner Qadri by asking him to get verified his 25 research publications through the HEC.

He submitted that as individuals, the petitioners would not be recognised by the HEC and it was the job of the search committee to satisfy itself by issuing a letter to the HEC to get such verification.

Filing comments on the petition, the universities and board department submitted that the petitioners had filed petitions just to gain time and delay the process of the selection of a very suitable candidate and consequently the varsity was suffering badly. The board said the petitioner had also tried to mislead the court by reporting that he had 48 publications, whereas, as verified by the HEC, he had only seven publications in recognised journals to his credit. The high court was requested to dismiss the petition.

A division bench of the high court headed by Justice Mohammad Shafi Siddiqui observed that a controversy had been created as to the appointment of the petitioners as well as private respondents on the basis of their credentials.

The bench directed the respondents as well as a provincial law officer to file para-wise comments on the petition within 10 days. The high court directed the respondents to file comments by March 17 and in the meantime, continued the interim stay by directing that the appointment of the KU VC may not be finalised till such verification from the federal HEC was obtained in respect of the petitioner’s credentials.

The petitioners have also questioned the modes and methods of the search committee and alleged that the same has been done in order to harass the petitioners and other genuine candidates. They submitted that two members of the search committee were the former VCs of KU and were biased against them and in favour of Prof Khalid Mehmood Iraqi who had been appointed as the acting VC and also a candidate for the post of the permanent VC.

They submitted that they were senior most professors according to the seniority list which was bypassed and a junior person was selected as the acting VC, which amply proved that the search committee was biased and prejudiced in favour of a person who otherwise was not entitled to be appointed even as the acting VC.

They sought injunction against the search committee and requested the SHC to declare that the competent authority may select persons to act as members of the search committee who were not biased and prejudiced.