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BZU campus controversies | PU harassment issue

BZU's sub-campus deal draws controversies
Multan, Sept 07: The Bahauddin Zakariya University's (BZU's) syndicate would take up the establishment of the BZU sub-campus in Lahore in its meeting on Friday.

Earlier, the university claimed that the syndicate on May 25-26 had approved the Lahore sub-campus. Some syndicate members allege that the minutes of the meeting had not correctly been recorded and that the syndicate did not approve the action of the vice-chancellor taken under Section 16 (3) of the BZU Act of 1975.

Several syndicate members are opposing the establishment of the sub-campus to be run under a public-private partnership.

Syndicate member Dr Ashiq Muhammad Durrani wrote to the BZU registrar on June 23 the syndicate had never approved the project as stated by the registrar. He said that it was decided not to circulate any item of agenda; every item was to be placed before the members of the syndicate in its meeting for discussion.

"For this particular item of the agenda, the syndicate made a committee consisting of Muhammad Zaffar Yasin, Prof Dr Zakir Husain, Muhammad Tariq Asad Butt, Dr Muhammad Shaukat Malik and Dr Saeed Akhtar to look into all legal and other aspects of the case to make it transparent," Dr Durrani said.

He said that it was also decided that the recommendations of the committee would be placed before the syndicate for discussion and final decision.

He said that it was strange that the registrar wrote in a letter to the administration that the meeting of the syndicate was not expected in the near future and the university did not wait and confirm the participation of member Justice Zafar Yasin (retired).

"Why the university is in a hurry to establish the sub-campus in collaborations with the West Continental Groups?" he said.

Amna Imam, additional secretary (academics) of the Higher Education Department, Punjab, in her letter to BZU Registrar Malik Munir Husain on June 26 stated that she had been directed to "state that this was not an emergency situation and hence does not attract Rule-12 of the Rules of Procedure for the meeting of the syndicate".

"I am further directed to state that the subject matter be placed on the agenda for discussion on the next meeting of the syndicate of Bahauddin Zakariya University," she concluded.

Farkhanda Akhtar, a syndicate member, also wrote to the registrar that the importance of the issue demanded an emergent meeting of the syndicate to discuss the deal.

Another member syndicate, Justice Yasin, wrote to the registrar on June 24 that he believed that the minutes of the meeting of the syndicate, held on May 25-26, were not correctly recorded.He said that the syndicate did not approve the actions taken by the vice-chancellor under section 16(3) of the Bahauddin Zakariya University Act of 1975, regarding partnership agreement with West Continental Group, Lahore, for the establishment of sub-campus in Lahore.

"In fact, serious questions are raised regarding the manner in which the matter was presented before the syndicate, and the haste with which the two agreements with West Continental Group were signed and registered," he stated. He said that to examine the legal and other aspects of the agreement the syndicate constituted a five-member committee and its report has to be presented before the syndicate for a final decision on the agreement that has already been signed and registered.

"The committee in its meeting on June 12 concluded the Public-Private Partnership Act of 2010, invoked in the agreement signed by the vice-chancellor under section 16(3) did not apply in the deal, therefore the agreement is void" he added.

He said that the syndicate as the executive body of the university was to take its decision regarding any partnership agreement after discussion, taking into consideration the report of the committee and all other relevant fact.

The register claimed that the consent of the syndicate members was sought through a circular and majority of the members had approved the sub-campus.

He said that only four out of 11 members of the syndicate had objected to the deal. He said that no illegality was committed by the university in the agreement.

The Lahore sub-campus offers admissions to more than 50 subjects while the admission fee as about double as compare to the main campus.

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"BZU lhr campus nec sy rexcognaized hy ya nhi... plz tell me?"
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Two former VCs, two registrars in the dock
Lahore: The Punjab governor has ordered institution of a regular/statutory inquiry against two former vice chancellors of Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi (PMASAAUR) and annulled scores of appointments made by three selection boards.

The governor, who is also chancellor of the public-sector universities in the province, has directed that the pension of former PMASAAUR acting VCs Prof Dr Irfanul Haq and Prof Dr Muhammad Munir should be withheld till final outcome of the inquiry and scrutiny of three selection boards.

The governor has also ordered inquiry against two former registrars Munir Sabir and Arshad Nawaz Chaudhry for recruitments made in violation of merit. He has allowed a regular inquiry through the Chief Minister's Inspection Team (CMIT) against the two former acting VCs and two former registrars as well as some other university officials.

Governor Chaudhry Sarwar has taken these decisions on the recommendations of a committee constituted by the Punjab government in July last year as well as recommendations of the Punjab Agriculture Department.

Sources said that more than 70 appointments were made in three selection boards, including 37 teaching and gazetted administrative posts.

An inquiry committee constituted by the Punjab government had probed complaints about illegal recruitments and declared that all appointments made in the 41st selection board chaired by former acting VC Prof Dr Irfanul Haq were "completely illegal" in view of law, rules and procedures. As these appointments were not approved by the Syndicate, the committee recommended that these should be cancelled.

The committee also recommended that the appointments made in the 40th Selection Board chaired by Prof Haq be cancelled as these were conducted by the incompetent/illegal selection board and considered in "illegal Syndicate meeting".

"Prima facie there are transparency, merit and reportedly corruption issues relating to these appointments," the committee observed.

As regards the appointments made in the 39th selection board chaired by former acting VC Prof Dr Muhammad Munir, the committee recommended that the appointments be held in abeyance and a fact-finding inquiry be held to ascertain the vires, transparency and merit.

The committee proposed that the appointments of relatives and merit-less appointments of BPS-1 to BPS-16 positions should also be cancelled after scrutiny.

Sources said that Prof Haq had overstepped his mandate and started committing massive irregularities by appointing inexperienced blue-eyed people on major positions in university. The acting VC advertised 129 posts in violation of the recruitment policy given by the Punjab governor allegedly to promote and induct his favourites in sheer violation of the university Statutes and Act.

The sources said the elected members of the university Syndicate and Academic staff Association represented to the governor and the chief minister with a request to intervene in the matter and instruct the acting VC stop irregularities and abide by the rules.

Prof Haq also committed irregularities with regard to holding of a Selection Board on July 20-21, 2012 as he himself appointed three members of the board (for which he had no competency) in a bid to overcome the quorum problem.

Sources said the three permanent members of the Selection Board had not participated in the meeting in protest due to irregularities in the recruitment process.

It is learnt that the Punjab government had directed the acting VC on July 20, 2012, to stop the illegal process of recruitment and referred the case to the Punjab Anti-Corruption Department.

Many applicants had reported that irrelevant faculty members of the university were present in the selection board for DVM associate professorship.

Sources said the acting VC advertised various administrative posts without approval of statutes by the chancellor. He also advertised a number of teaching and administrative posts without budgetary provision and also illegally transferred posts from one department to another.Sources also claimed that the acting VC committed gross violation of statutes during departmental promotion committee for BPS-1 to 16 by promoting their blue-eyed people to higher positions without considering the number of sanctioned posts and ratio between direct recruitment and promotion.

PMASAAUR Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Rai Niaz Ahmad said he had stopped the pension of both former VCs Prof Munir and Prof Haq while going by the book and constituted three inquiry committees to look into the affairs of selections boards and appointments. He said the committees had a dean, a Syndicate member and registrar. He said the 41st selection board was completely illegal and annulled.

Prof Ahmad also said that the CMIT had started inquiry as the accused appeared before it on Friday.

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PU teachers trade barbs over harassment issue
Lahore: The Punjab University's two groups in the faculty on Thursday again traded barbs on the issue of PU Law College lecturer Khujista Rehan's alleged harassment charges against vice-chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran.

The PU Teachers Front as well as PU Academic Group and Academic Forum held separate meetings. The former termed the harassment charges a propaganda by some elements pursuing their vested interests, while the later demanded that the Punjab government should hold an independent inquiry into the harassment case.

The PU Teachers Front held its general body meeting and condemned the propaganda of some elements, causing serious damages to the repute of the great alma mater and demanded immediate action against them.

Teachers Front secretary Javed Sami stated that the meeting, attended by over 250 teachers, was told that law college lecturer Khujista Rehan was trying to dent the image of the university as well as teachers' community by levelling false allegation of sexual harassment only because she was denied her illegal financial demand.

The meeting was told that the teachers were informed that Ms Rehan went on ex-Pakistan leave for more than a year without permission of the university. It was stated that she could face removal from service but the varsity syndicate took a lenient view and allowed her to join her duties. Later, she also applied for one year salaries and other benefits worth Rs800,000 for the same period, which the PU Syndicate denied.

The meeting urged the university administration to take a strong stance against the malicious campaign and decide all pending cases in the Syndicate on merit.

ACADEMIC GROUP: The PU Academic Group (AG) and Academic Forum joint meeting chaired by Prof Dr Nasir Ahmed strongly condemned the Teacher's Front for defending the VC's vindictive and hostile attitude towards university teachers, especially harassment being meted out to Ms Rehan.

AG secretary Dr Asmatullah said the Teachers' Front leadership was part and parcel of the administration and was involved in illegal activities like forgery and criminal acts.

Dr Asmatullah stated that the participants of the meeting stressed that the Punjab government should initiate an inquiry against Vice-Chancellor Dr Mujahid Kamran on the charges of harassment of university employees, corruption and gross misconduct. Dawn

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Rs 1.87 bn released for Punjab schools
Lahore: The Punjab government has released Rs 1.87 billion for provision of missing facilities in selected schools of all districts of the province. The funds will be utilised for construction of boundary walls, provision of drinking water and electricity and construction of toilets. The funds have been placed in the Joint SDAs of DCOs/EDOs (F&P) of the districts. The maximum funds Rs 71.25 million have been provided to district Faisalabad for provision of missing facilities in 95 public schools of the province, followed by Lahore district with Rs 66.75 million for 89 schools and Sheikhupura district with Rs 64.50 million for 86 schools.

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Finance ministry directed to release Rs2.9b to HEC
Islamabad: The Senate Standing committee on Education and Technical Committee Thursday directed the Ministry of Finance to released Rs2.9 billion outstanding dues to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) within 15 days.

The members of the standing committee of upper house of the parliament who met at the Parliament House with chairman of the committee Senator Abdul Nabi Bangash in the chair expressed displeasure over attitude of the Ministry of Finance towards problems of the higher education sector and proceedings of the committee. "The non-compliance of directives of the standing committee will result in legal action against responsible officials of the ministry," the directives of the committee said.

The committee members also took serious note of continuous absence of the Finance secretary from meetings observing that privilege motion could be moved against the top official for not turning up. "All the outstanding dues of HEC be released and Finance secretary should also ensure his presence in the next meeting," chairman of the committee in the directives said.

The standing committee of the Senate also recommended the government to increase in allocations for the education sector from 2% to 4% of total GDP announce emergency in the education sector.

Some committee members also expressed concerns over heavy fees being charged by the universities under the self-finance schemes saying such schemes deprive needy and competent students of opportunities of higher and professional education.

The committee also recommended that the National Vocation and Technical Training Commission should make arrangements of its training facilities in public universities around the country.

Senator Chaudhry Jaffar Iqbal recommended that the provincial governments should cooperate with the commission to promote technical training in the country.

Director General of the commission, Shah Rukh Nusrat apprised the meeting that the commission has imparted technical and skilled training to 151,000 in the last seven years.

Minister of State for Education and Technical Training Balighur Rehman, senators Najma Hameed, Kazim Khan, Afrasiab Khattak and Chaudhry Jaffar also attended the meeting. The news

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NED varsity job fair on 9th
Karachi: A job fair will be organised at the NED University of Engineering and Technology on Sept 9.

An official of the institution said on Friday that the event would enable potential employers to assess the potential of students of the final year before they graduated.

The official said that the final year students would display their projects on the occasion. Besides, the official said, there would be a marketing contest and a robotics competition. app

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KU teachers boycott classes against new varsities law
Karachi: Teachers at the University of Karachi (KU) will resume their teaching responsibilities today after boycotting classes on Thursday against a controversial new law.

The wave of protests against the proposed amendments in the Sindh Universities Law that started from Karachi has reached Jamshoro, where the KU teachers will attend a session today.

Teachers all over Sindh have been protesting against amendments in the universities law, which they claim is direct interference with the universities' autonomy. Through this legislation, the powers which were previously enjoyed by the provincial governor will be transferred to the chief minister. Moreover, the government will be allowed to directly interfere in the appointments and policies of the public universities.

"We have requested the vice-chancellor to call a meeting of the statutory bodies, the senate, syndicate and academic council on Tuesday," said Muttahir Ahmed, the president of the Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS).

The society also plans to hold a seminar on the amendments proposed in the new law next week. "This will spread our message and explain to students the reason for our protest," he said.

On Thursday, the KU teachers stayed away from taking classes as a means to record their protest.

During the day-long protest, the teachers also gathered at the administration block and shouted slogans against the proposed amendments.

Earlier, a number of teachers' representative bodies from across Sindh had met at the NED University of Engineering and Technology, demanding repealing the new law.

They claimed the latest regulations were against the fundamental concept of a university charter, which "gives full autonomy to manage academic and administrative affairs of the institution". The news

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Islamia College University to get full-time VC
Peshawar: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to appoint a full-time vice-chancellor of Islamia College University (ICU) to streamline affairs of this prestigious institution and save it from further deterioration, according to officials.

Three acting vice-chancellors have so far run the institution during last three years after its first VC Ajmal Khan was kidnapped by Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan on Sept 7, 2010. He was kidnapped by the TTP from the Professors Colony, located adjacent to the University of Peshawar Campus, while on his way to the ICU.

The standard of the ICU has been on a constant decline, both academically and administratively, in the absence of Mr Khan due to unprecedented differences among different groups of teachers, who had never showed unity on any issue inside the university.

Since kidnapping of Mr Khan, the present ICU VC Prof Ihsan Ali is the third person who has been working as its acting VC. Prof Ali is also a full-time VC of Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan. Prior to him, Prof Haidar Shah of the ICU and Prof Ms Noor Jehan of the University of Peshawar have worked as acting VCs of this historic university.

The TTP has so far released several video tapes of the kidnapped VC, and in the latest footage Mr Khan was shown desperately asking the government and Peshawar High Court chief justice for taking notice of his issue.

When contacted, advisor to the chief minister on higher education department MPA Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani said: "Yes, we have decided to appoint a full-time vice-chancellor at the Islamia College University in the best interest of the students."

Referring to the present acting VC Prof Ali, he said that it was impossible for one person to administratively control two universities located hundreds of kilometres from each other.

He said that another post would be created in the ICU to appoint the kidnapped VC Ajmal Khan so as to continue all his perks and privileges presently given to his family.

He said that the senate of the ICU would be convened very soon to solve this issue. "With the appointment of a permanent VC we could only save the university from further deterioration," he said.

Under the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities Act, 2012, the powers of VC's removal are with the senate. Through a resolution passed by two-thirds of its members, the senate recommends to the chancellor for the removal of the VC on different grounds.

Mr Ghani said that the new permanent VC would be appointed within two months on merit and it would be ensured that the person was also a competent administrator.

Sources said that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister, governor, who is chancellor of the ICU, and the higher education department were helpless before the strong groups of the ICU. Not a single decision could be implemented in the university unacceptable to the teachers, they said.

The influence of the teachers could be judged from the fact that they had been able to stop the summary sent by the HED to the chief minister for taking the acting charge from the incumbent VC and appointment of another acting VC.

They said that officials in the HED were unaware of the summary sent to the chief minister who had signed it before sending the same to the governor/chancellor for further action.

The sources said that due to interference of one of the teachers' groups, the summary was sent back to the Chief Minister Secretariat because of certain reasons. They said that presently no one knew about the whereabouts of the summary.

They said that the same group had been opposing the appointment of acting VC from outside the university while at the same time lending active support to the present acting VC, who is also from outside the university. Dawn

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