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January 21, 2016

Dr Tahir Shah vows to make Fata varsity operational soon


January 21, 2016

PESHAWAR: The newly appointed vice-chancellor of the long-delayed Fata University, Prof Dr Mohammad Tahir Shah, is confident of making the institution operational at the earliest and start admissions in some departments from next academic session.

Talking to The News, Dr Tahir Shah said that he would soon visit the site of the university and study the overall development made on the project so far. The first thing he would do is to recruit the administrative staff and expedite the process to make the university functional as soon as possible.

He said it was a daunting task for him to set up the institution. “I know problems are always there at the initial stage of a big project. But when commitment is there, things are made possible,” he said.

The plan of setting up a university in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) was first floated in 2008, but owing to a host of reasons formal work could not be started on it. In 2013, the Fata University Regulations were approved and a site for the university was identified at Akhurwal locality in the semi-tribal region of Darra Adamkhel in Frontier Region Kohat.

However, the bureaucratic bottlenecks and lengthy process of appointment of its project director and vice-chancellor caused delay to materialise the plan. Even two vice-chancellors were appointed in 2013, but they were not given enough time to set up the institution.

Dr Shafiqur Rahman, a former professor and chairman of the department of Environmental Sciences, University of Peshawar (UoP), was made the first vice-chancellor of the university, but he could serve in that capacity for only two months and his services were terminated. He was followed by a retired bureaucrat Mohammad Ashfaq Khattak, but he too was sacked soon.

For Dr Tahir Shah, the most serious problem was the lack of rules and regulations for the project. But now when regulations have been approved and PC-I okayed and land acquired, it won’t be that difficult to make the university functional.

The academician, who hails from the Mashwani tribe of Sirikot area in Haripur district, said that the university would start its initial functioning at the building of Government College, Darra Adamkhel and work on the university building at Akhurwal on the spacious 266 kanal land would be expedited.

Tahir Shah, who is a prominent geologist and a known researcher, said that he would try to complete the recruitment of the administrative officers within a month and then focus attention on the academic side.

He said he would try to start admissions in some departments of social science from the next academic session. “Initially, we would try to start such departments which don’t have the need of laboratories. We would take the start from social sciences and the emerging sciences and gradually introduce other disciplines,” he said. Born in 1956, Tahir Shah got his primary education from his native village. He did his matriculation from Model School, Mianwali, FSc from Islamia College Peshawar and BSc and MSc from Department of Geology, UoP.

He joined National Centre of Excellence in Geology (NCEG), UoP in 1982. He completed his MPhil in 1986 and PhD from the University of South Carolina, Columbia (USA) in 1991. Before his new assignment as vice chancellor, Fata University, he was serving as director, NCEG UoP.

He has got published 75 abstracts in the proceedings of national and international conferences and 150 research papers in the journals of international repute. He has supervised 34 MPhil and 12 PhD scholars.The academician has been honoured with Tamga-i-Imtiaz’ civil award and a number of gold medals for his services in the field of education and research.



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