Karachi university funds controversy

Release of funds by acting KU vice chancellor
Karachi, March 17: Approval of Rs 3.4 million for a project last week by acting Vice Chancellor of the University of Karachi Prof. Dr Shahana Urooj Kazmi, a decision an acting VC is not authorised to take, has created a fresh controversy at the largest university in Pakistan.

Prof. Kazmi, who is also the Dean Faculty of Science, had approved release of Rs 3.4 million to a contractor company for a 570-million project at the Pharmacy Faculty despite the poor performance of the firm. The Resident Auditor of the university, Rizwan Shamim, who is not a KU employee, had given a go-ahead for the release of the amount.

On June 10, 2009, in a meeting at the office of Planning and Development, KU, it was recommended that the contract of the company (Cemicon) should be terminated due to its poor performance. The recommendation came from the Resident Engineer of the Consultant Company ECIL. However, the engineer was transferred later. The Director of the project, Engineer Tariq Aziz, then moved the bill which was approved by the auditor the very next day.

Interestingly, Engineer Tariq Aziz put up a note and strongly advocated the contractor company, saying that law and order situation, financial problems and heavy rains during the construction period caused delay in the work.

The project was launched in March, 2008 and should have been completed by December 2009. Interestingly, there had been no "heavy rains" in Karachi during the said period. Aziz also said that ECIL has claimed the project would be completed by the end of June, 2010, but failed to present any documentary evidence to prove its point.

Meanwhile, an evaluation of the work on the project at Pharmacy Faculty was done in October 2009 and it was found that only 33 per cent of the work had been done on the Rs 790-million project. It is interesting to see how the contractor company would be able to complete the remaining work by June.

The teachers and the staff of the university are aghast that an acting VC, who had no jurisdiction on such matters, has actually approved a large sum for the contractor company at a time when the university is facing a financial crunch.

Meanwhile, Dr Kazmi said that she approved the release of the fund with good intentions as she wanted the work on the project to be completed at the soonest possible time. She added that the papers presented to her were cleared by auditors and the director Finance KU. The news

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Nine injured in student organisations' clash
Karachi: At least nine students were injured in a clash between two rival student organisations at the Gulshan Degree College on Tuesday while the academic process was suspended for hours.

Police said the clash occurred within the college premises where activists of Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) and Pukhtoon Students Federation (PSF) clashed over the possession of a sitting place.

As a result, six students including the IJT Nazim, Rao Ramzan sustained injuries and were shifted to a private hospital for treatment, they added. Following the incident, police rushed to the scene and took the situation under control.

Meanwhile, the Gulshan Iqbal police registered a case against PSF leader Muhammad Iqbal on the complaint of Ramzan and initiated investigation. Daily times

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Lecturers seek 80pc increment in basic pay
Karachi: Eighty per cent increase in basic pay should be announced for the government teachers, demanded the Sindh Government College Principals Association (SGCPA) on Tuesday.

SGCPA President Professor Saeed-uz-Zafar Khan, while giving proposals to the Pay and Pension Committee 2010, said that teachers with higher qualification, such as PhD, should be given an additional allowance of Rs10,000 per month. The medical facilities should be provided through health insurance schemes. He also demanded the government to pay an additional Rs10,000 per month to the principals of colleges.

He suggested that time scales for promotions should be fixed. Lecturer and assistant professors having experience of at least seven years of teaching should be placed in B-17 and B-18 grades, respectively, Khan added.

Assistant professors and associate professors with 14 years of experience should be given the grades of B-18 and B-19, while associate professors and professors who have teaching experience of 19 years should be promoted to B-19 to B-20 grades. Professors with 25 years of service should be given the rank of B-20 or B-21, khan further suggested.

The professor recommended to Dr Ishrat Hussain, chairman of the Pay and Pension Committee, that a system for yearly increment in salaries be formulated.

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Ex-NED VC's pension
Karachi: Former vice chancellor of NED University of Engineering and Technology Prof. Dr Muneer Hassan, who has not been paid his pension for the last 16 years due to alleged highhandedness of the present Vice Chancellor Abul Kalam, is likely to get reprieve after the intervention of the provincial Law Department that has validated his claim on overdue arrears.

A Law Department's letter, dated March 11, 2010, was sent to the deputy secretary, Secretariat of Governor of Sindh, which says: "I am directed to refer to your letter No: GS/3-1/2009 (SO-I)/1321, dated December 7, 2009 on the subject noted above (case of Dr Muhammad Muneer Hassan, ex-vice chancellor NED University of Engineering & Technolgy) and to state that the case of Dr Muneer Hassan relates to determination of date of his retirement as professor and the case filed by him in the Supreme Court relates to his removal from vice chancellorship, therefore, his date of retirement as professor can be determined by the competent authority."

In an appeal to Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Dr Hassan said that he was awaiting his pension for the last 16 years after retiring in 1994 as the vice chancellor of NED University of Engineering and Technology.

"The sitting vice chancellor and the registrar have made the date of my retirement an issue," he said. The news

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LUMHS doctors stipends
Hyderabad: Hyderabad chapter of the Postgraduate Doctors Forum has given a 10-day deadline to the Sindh health department and the Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences to release stipends of the postgraduate doctors of LUMHS.

President of the forum Dr Saleem Rind, general secretary Dr Haresh said that if the government failed to resolve the issue, doctors would boycott their duties.

They said that for one year they were on leave without pay to pursue higher studies in the university and were performing their duties in different wards.

Dr Haresh said that on the one hand they were not getting any salary from the government while on the other they had also been denied stipend by LUMHS.

He said that it had become difficult for the postgraduate doctors to find living space even in Hyderabad.

He said that in all the other government hospitals of Sindh, the postgraduate doctors were being paid stipend.

He appealed to the higher authorities to help release their stipend withheld by LUMHS for one year.

Answering a question, Haresh Kumar said that there were 32 postgraduate doctors working with LUMHS.

He said that while the postgraduate doctors working in Karachi hospitals were being paid Rs22,000 per month as stipend, the postgraduates of the LUMHS and other hospitals of interior of Sindh were being paid only Rs12,000 per month.

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SBBMU VC's appointment
Larkana: Larkana circuit bench of the Sindh High Court on Tuesday issued notices to the chancellor of universities, Sindh chief secretary and vice-chancellor of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Medical University Prof Sikandar Ali Shaikh in a petition filed by Dr Syed Abdul Ghafoor Shah.

The bench, comprising Justice Shahid Anwar Bajwa and Justice Imam Bakhsh Baloch, issued notices after admitting the petition challenging appointment of Prof Sikandar as the vice-chancellor of SBBMU.

Inayat Moriyo advocate on behalf of his client Dr Abdul Ghafoor Shah, a retired orthopaedic surgeon, took plea that appointment of Sikandar Shaikh on contract was in violation of the rules laid down by the Supreme Court in a human rights case.

He said that more efficient persons were available than Mr Shaikh, but the officials concerned ignored them despite the fact that he was not fit (for the job). Many qualified and capable persons could have competed for the post if it had been advertised, the petitioner said.

He said that Professor Shaikh during his tenure as principal of Chandka Medical College and head of the surgery department had failed to establish burns ward and intensive care unit. Mr Shakh was also accused of discouraging merit and favouring his well wishers.

The petitioner requested the court to issue a writ of Quo Warranto restraining Professor Shaikh from performing as vice-chancellor and declare his appointment illegal.

He requested the court to direct the chancellor of universities of Sindh and chief secretary of the province to appoint a capable and suitable person on merit.

The division bench did not give next date for hearing and the petition was kept in queue for hearing on date in office. Dawn

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