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January 17, 2016
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Dr Tahir Shah selected for Fata varsity VC slota

Peshawar

January 17, 2016

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PESHAWAR: After a long wait and many false starts, the proposed Fata University is finally going to have a new vice-chancellor.

Dr Mohammad Tahir Shah, a professor at the National Centre of Excellence in Geology at the University of Peshawar, has been selected as the vice-chancellor of the Fata University. He was one of the three shortlisted candidates whose names were sent to Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Sardar Mahtab Ahmad Khan for selecting one of them for the prestigious job. The names were recommended by the search committee constituted for the purpose.

Dr Tahir Shah is also the director of the National Centre of Excellence in Geology at the University of Peshawar. He belongs to Haripur.

The plan for setting up the Fata University was conceived in 2008, but the project got delayed due to political reasons, lack of resources, dispute on its location and lack of consensus on the appointment of the vice-chancellor.

President Asif Ali Zardari had approved the Fata University Regulation in May 2013. The first-ever university for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) was to be set up on 266 kanals of land at Akhurwal in Darra Adamkhel in the Frontier Region Kohat. Akhurwal was seen as one of the less controversial site for the university as it is accessible from almost all the seven tribal agencies and six Frontier Regions.

At one point, a vice-chancellor served for two months only and was then abruptly removed. Prof Shafiqur Rehman, chairman of the Environmental Sciences Department, University of Peshawar was made the vice-chancellor in 2013 but his tenure was short as two months later he was replaced by Mohammad Ashfaq Khattak, a retired bureaucrat who had at one time served as Secretary Railways. The latter too could not survive for long. Mostly though, the vice-chancellor’s post remained vacant while the university failed to become functional.

The more vocal sections of the tribespeople have been demanding a university of their own as well as medical and engineering colleges. However, it is often difficult to make them agree on the site of these and other projects. Governor Sardar Mahtab appears keen to make the long-delayed Fata University operational as its vice-chancellor has been appointed after a long gap.

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