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SZIC board meeting over director appointment

SZIC body meets today amid controversy over director's appointment
Karachi, Aug 26: A fiery debate is expected to take place over the status of the Sheikh Zayed Islamic Centre's incumbent director at the 7th meeting of the SZIC's board of governors being held on Wednesday after three years.

Though the agenda of the meeting refers to the promotion of Dr Noor Ahmed Shahtaz, the current director, it doesn't seek any approval for it from the BoG, and says the promotion was a consequence of the compliance of the court's order on his reinstatement.

Item 8 of the meeting's agenda says: "Dr Shahtaz was reinstated in service with full benefits and his appointment as associate professor came into effect consequent upon compliance of the orders of the Sindh High Court."

Dr Shahtaz's appointment as director of the SZIC, part of Karachi University, in June and his earlier promotion from an ad-hoc assistant professor to an associate professor in "suspicious circumstances" have caused much discontent on the campus.

He was dismissed from the SZIC in 2006 after a unanimous resolution passed by the BoG alleging that he had fake credentials. The Sindh High Court reinstated him last year as an ad-hoc assistant professor, the position he retained at the time of his removal. However, the KU vice-chancellor promoted him as associate professor on behalf of the BoG.

Under the protocol signed between the UAE and Pakistan governments to set up the centre, the BoG should meet at least twice a year and all appointments of Grade-17 and above must be approved by it. But this has not been done so far in Dr Shahtaz's case.

Dr Shahtaz's case
Karachi: Dr Shahtaz was appointed ad-hoc lecturer at SZIC in 1989. Later, he did his PhD on the basis of which he was made a temporary assistant professor.

He had a master's in Islamic Studies (2nd division) at the time of appointment. According to the university code, an applicant for lectureship must hold a degree in first division.

The then SZIC administration held that Dr Shahtaz's two other degrees, Darjatul Takhasus (equivalent to master's in Arabic) and Shahadat-ul-Alamia (equivalent to master's in Arabic and Islamic studies), were fake and he had neither of them when he was appointed lecturer.

Two inquiries were held into his case. As a result of the second inquiry, he was removed from service by the BoG and his selection for the post of associate professor was also declared void.

Later, the removal was challenged in the Sindh High Court. According to senior KU teachers, the SZIC lawyer "literally surrendered" in court which, in fact, prepared grounds for a decision in Dr Shahtaz's favour. One of the "major concessions" given by the SZIC counsel, according to the judgment, was that the SZIC lawyer agreed to Dr Shahtaz's claim that he was eligible at the time of induction.

No appeal was filed against the court judgment, though Dr Shahtaz was removed by an 11-member BoG.

Pathetic state of affairs
Karachi: The centre has been run on an ad-hoc basis since its establishment in the late 1980s. The state of its administrative 'efficiency' may be gauged from the fact that it will be only a 7th meeting of the research institution's BoG in over 20 years.

None of the courses of bachelor's and master's level taught in the institution for over two decades were approved by the university's academic council, a mandatory requirement under the university code.

The case of new courses introduced during the last few years is pending in the academic council for many months. There is said to be an acute lack of competent teachers at the centre, which failed to produce even a single full professor. During the period between Dr Shahtaz's removal and reinstatement, a junior assistant professor of computer science was appointed ad-hoc director of the centre.

The vice-chancellor of Karachi University, Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim, being the chairman of SZIC's BoG will preside over the meeting. Other BoG members include Dr Noor Ahmed Shah, the present director, Prof Dr Akhtar Saeed, the dean of the faculty of Islamic Studies, religious scholar Dr Shareef Siyalvi, Hafiz Dr Mehmood Akhtar, the Lahore SZIC director; Dr Kibla Ayaz, representative of the Higher Education Commission, and Dr Dost Mohammad, the director of SZIC, Peshawar. Dawn


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Scholarship cheques distributed at KU
Karachi: University of Karachi (KU) Vice Chancellor Prof. Pirzada Qasim has vowed that all students admitted to the university will be able to completing their desired level of education despite the financial crunch.

The VC expressed these ideas while distributing cheques to students on Tuesday in his office. Director Student Financial Aid Office in collaboration with Mitsubishi Corporation International had organised the function.

Seventy students received cheques that ranged from 4,000 to 25,000 rupees.

Mitsubishi Corporation International General Manager Masaharu Domichi said that his company wants to create harmony between Pakistan and Japan, and this financial assistance is an expression of gratitude to the people of Pakistan for their cooperation and consideration.

Dean Faculty of Science Dr. Shahana Urooj Kazmi, Dean Management and Information Sciences Dr. Abuzar Wajidi, Dean Faculty of Pharmacy Dr. Waseemuddin Khan and others also attended the ceremony. The news

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Education, training key to progress
Lahore: Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that education, research and vocational training can help make Pakistan a developed and prosperous country, says a handout.

Speaking at the annual awards ceremony of the Rangers Institute of Technical Education (RITE) at Rangers Headquarters on Tuesday, the chief minister said the government was making efforts to eliminate disparity in education and provide justice to people on their doorstep.

He said a plan had been evolved to equip the youth with the vocational education. He said Tevta had been given the target of training 500,000 youth every year. He announced a grant of Rs25 million for RITE.

Sharif said developed countries of the world owed their progress to vocational education and training. He gave away commendatory certificates to outstanding students and also inspected various stalls set up by passing out RITE graduates.

Later, talking to the media, the chief minister said subsidised flour was being supplied to all parts of the province to provide relief to people in Ramazan.

He said a system had been put in place to ensure easy availability of essential items to people at fixed rates. The prices of fruits, vegetables and other items at Ramazan bazaars and in the open market were being controlled, he added. Dawn


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