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PU Teachers' groups lobby for own VC candidates

LAHORE, Sep 10: Several teacher lobbies at Punjab University (PU) are pulling strings to foil attempts by the government to appoint an outsider the university vice chancellor, it was learnt. These lobbies want the new VC from amongst themselves.

Arshad Mehmood's term as VC will end on September 22. The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has advertised for the post in newspapers hence barring Mehmood from becoming the VC for the third time. Also, the advertisement states that applicants should have a PhD while Mehmood does not have one.

A senior teacher said that, "The appointment is a hot topic in academic circles and the Punjab University Academic Staff Association (PUASA) and Teachers Front are trying their best to get their man hired to the post. PUASA wants acting VC Dr Arif Butt for the post. Dr Butt is from the Chemical Engineering Department and the most senior teacher (from the service point of view) at PU. Also, Dr Butt is a former Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) leader and most PUASA members belong or did belong to IJT. The Teachers Front wants Dr Mujahid Kamran for the post. Dr Kamran is the Physics Department chairman."

The teacher said both men were very senior and close to the teaching community. He also said other names for the job included Dr Mugheesuddin Sheikh, dean of Behavioural Sciences and director of the Institute of Communications Studies; and PU registrar Dr Naeem Ahmad Khan. "These men have a great record and have performed well at the university," he added.

Dr Mumtaz Ahmad Salik, PUASA president, said the association was not supporting any one for the VC's post. "We just want the VC to be from PU and won't accept anyone else," he added.

He said Dr Butt was working as acting VC in Mehmood's absence and the teaching community at PU was happy with his work. "Dr Butt is a PhD and has vast teaching and experience. He is aware of management issues at PU and is the right person to fix problems," he said.

A senior teacher from the Teachers Front said several incidents had soiled the university's reputation including the plagiarism issue. One a brighter note, research at PU was at its peak because of the large amount of funds allocated by HEC, he added.

"Because of these reasons, we need someone who is renowned in the field of research and management. Dr Kamran is leading the science department and is also a senior teacher," he added.

PU registrar Dr Naeem Ahmad Khan said HEC had formed a research committee to pick a VC and selection would be on merit. He said September 21 would be the last date to apply for the position. The registrar said he did not want to talk about him being the next VC. He said the next VC, from within or outside the university, should have a broad vision and expand PU's academic activities.

PUASA protest: Salik said PUASA would protest against HEC's research committee. He said the committee members were ineligible for the job because they were not from the academic circle and none of them had a PhD.

He said the members included as Syed Babar Ali, executive director of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS); Sartaj Aziz; Muhammad Akram Chaudhry, VC of the University of Engineering and Technology; Khalid Ikhlaq Gillani, education secretary; and the additional chief secretary.

He said the process of selecting a VC from the non-academic circle was insulting for the teaching community. He also said the research committee had not done too well as it chose a bureaucrat for the VC office of Bahawalpur University. "The candidate had not even applied for the job," he added.

Dr Sohail Naqvi next VC? Another senior PU teacher said that there were reports that the government was appointing Dr Sohail H Naqvi, executive director of HEC, as PU VC. He said these reports had surprised the whole PU teaching community.

A HEC source said that because of internal politics at PU, it was expected from the government to appoint an outsider as VC. He said the advertisement for the post stated that anyone with a PhD could apply for the post. He said Dr Naqvi could apply for the position, as he fulfilled all the requirements for the post.

However, Dr Naqvi said that he had no plans to become the PU VC. He said news of the government appointing him as VC was baseless. Daily times

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Updated: 14 Oct, 2014
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