Monday November 28, 2022

Eyebrows raised over PU appointments

June 25, 2022

LAHORE:Punjab University (PU) administration has circulated agenda for the university’s upcoming Syndicate meeting without including proceedings of the recent selection boards raising eyebrows over appointments made by the former Vice Chancellor using his emergency powers.

The 1746th Syndicate meeting of the Punjab University for final approval is scheduled for June 28 in which the administration has placed over 170 appointments of Professors, Associate Professors, Assistant Professors, Lecturers (grade-18 to grade-21) whose appointment orders were issued by the former VC Prof Dr Niaz Ahmad using powers under Section 15 (3) of the University of Punjab Act 1973. However, the agenda, a copy available with The News, does not include proceedings of the selection boards.

According to a PU syndicate member, who wished to remain anonymous, sometimes the proceedings of selection boards are placed before the members on the day of the meeting. “However, owing to paucity of time it becomes almost impossible to examine the details and address concerns raised by other faculty members at the forum,” he said. The member added it was therefore proceedings were circulated among the Syndicate members a couple of days before the meeting so that they study, exam and prepare themselves to debate the issues of concerns.

It is pertinent to mention here that there is growing reaction from the PU faculty members and other staff members over these appointments for alleged irregularities. On June 23, a PU faculty member alleging merit violation in recent appointments at the university’s School of Communication Studies (SCS) had demanded the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor to hold an inquiry into the appointments allegedly made in violation of merit.

As per the complaint, a copy available with The News, submitted by Associate Prof Dr M Shabbir Sarwar, who was candidate for the Post of Professor at the SCS, two candidates, Dr Savera Shami and Dr Lubna Zaheer, with lesser number of publications and experience were appointed as Professors in BPS-21. Dr Sarwar also alleged that the former VC selected only those experts from the list to seek their consent for evaluation of the cases who were suggested by these two female teachers.

Dr Shabbir Sarwar has requested the Chancellor and the VC to hold confirmation of the appointments on the Post of Professor of Communication Studies until a final verdict of the inquiry.

A PU teacher, seeking anonymity, said that like the School of Communication Studies teachers and staff had concerns over appointments and promotions in other departments and administrative offices. He said that the university administration filled dozens of vacant posts of grade 17, 18 and 19 by promoting officers allegedly in violation of rules and regulations.

The teacher further said that a number of Assistant Registrars recruited in 2018 had challenged these promotions with Lahore High Court as the said promotions on senior grades had eliminated their chances of promotions. Their writ petition had also been placed before the Syndicate as well, he added. As per university rules, 50 percent appointments on specific administrative posts should be filled through newspaper advertisement, 25 percent through circulation of advertisement among university officials and 25 percent through seniority cum fitness basis.

When contacted PU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr M Saleem Mazhar said that the former VC used his emergency powers otherwise the faculty members had to face increment loss. He said proceedings containing referees report could not be made public but would be provided to Syndicate members.

Prof Saleem Mazhar said all appointment orders were included the agenda. To a question he said he had not yet seen complaint submitted by Dr Shabbir Sarwar. Answering another question about Assistant Registrars moving the court, he said it was their right.