Anti-IJT drive puts PU VC in a tight spot: elements within varsity admin engineering events to embarrass VC
Lahore, May 03: The Punjab University (PU), it seems, has gone soft on the Islami Jamiat Taliba (IJT). The administration's current stance on the disruptive organisation – reflected in recent official statements that refer to the gang simply as "a particular students' group" – has mysteriously changed overnight.
Indeed, this turn of events is a far cry from the PU's fiery rhetoric from last month, when the IJT hooligans terrorised Disciplinary Committee head and College of Earth Sciences Principal Dr Iftikhar Baloch. Following the brutal attack, educationists, civil society and students from across the city vocally condemned the IJT's 'Mafioso tactics' and took to the streets to voice their opposition to the group.
On the official front, the PU vice chancellor let no occasion pass without chanting the mantra of IJT's evil presence be it at press conferences or in meetings with the chief minister and the governor. The university even pressured the authorities into conducting two separate operations in its hostels in a bid to root out the undesirable elements there – shutting the campus down for all activities in the process.
But now, ever since classes have resumed, the administration has changed its tune, refusing to name the body that has caused mayhem on the otherwise serene campus. A number of senior teachers at PU have come down hard on the administration for softening their stance on the IJT, saying that after all the protests and the marches and demonstrations, such a move was disheartening for all those who had campaigned for the IJT's ouster from PU. Students, teachers and academics alike took active part in the drive against the hooligans who, they said, were ruining the academic environment at one of the country's most prestigious seats of learning.
IJT-engineered violence on campus, they say, continues even now – a fact illustrated by the attack on PU Assistant Security Officer Muhammad Shoukat last Friday. But when the administration released their official statement on the incident, they did not directly blame IJT, choosing instead to call them "a student group". Everyone is now curious as to the reasons that prompted this change of heart on the administration's part. Observers say the varsity, in blatant disregard for the hectic efforts made by all stakeholders to draw attention to the IJT menace, has seemingly caved in to pressure from the group. "It is obvious that there are IJT sympathisers within the administration, who have now convinced the varsity's top brass to avoid naming them directly.
But what is the inside story? Sources inside the university said that tensions are running high on campus, the grapevine is rife with rumours that Vice Chancellor (VC) Dr Mujahid Kamran may soon be replaced. Certain pro-IJT staffers, it is said, launched a campaign to malign the VC on the issue of law and order. The rumours in question began circulating soon after the Punjab chief minister cancelled as being unlawful the appointment of two deans who were selected by the VC himself. According to the Punjab government, the varsity did not seek advice from the before making the appointments and instructed the varsity to issue a notification cancelling the appointments. This unprecedented event came as a shock to the whole university, and was used by pro-IJT elements within the staff to further their own agenda. It is learnt that following the notification, they began spreading rumours that the CM had become fed up with the VC, and is looking to replace him. Some even went as far as putting the blame for the unrest in the university – and its subsequent closure – squarely on the VC's shoulders.
Now, sources privy to developments on campus say, the VC is trying his best to bring situation under control. However, he is encountering stiff opposition from certain quarters, who are out to sabotage all efforts at normalisation. It was these very elements, sources say, who engineered the recent assault on Muhammad Shoukat. Their twisted logic, some say, is that the VC will have to pay the price for any resurgence of violence on campus. This puts the VC in a very awkward position, because although he enjoys the backing of the majority of university - teachers and students alike - and has been openly assured of all-out support from Chancellor and Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, he cannot crack down on these subversive elements directly for fear of being accused of abusing his authority. This is possibly why the admin has softened its tone on the IJT as well, in a bid to pacify the pro-IJT elements within the administration.
Those who support the VC in his efforts to expel the IJT scourge from the university are now pressing him to follow through on his promises and go all the way in ensuring that no individual or group is allowed to disturb the peace on campus. After all, what's in a name?Your Comments
IJT thugs assault PU security officer
Lahore: Tension gripped the Punjab University campus again as Islami Jamiat Taliba (IJT) activists allegedly thrashed PU Assistant Security Officer Shoukat Ali when he tried to prevent them from distributing pamphlets after Friday prayers.
In a joint meeting of the deans and chairpersons of different PU departments, held on April 20, it was unanimously decided that the distribution of handbills or pamphlets amongst students and teachers would be strictly prohibited. This decision was taken because certain student organisations had been distributing handbills containing highly objectionable remarks and allegations against the faculty members, which in certain cases also aimed at fanning sectarian sentiments. In line with this policy, security guards were deputed outside the campus mosque last week to prevent any such activity. On Friday, as IJT members attempted to give out pamphlets after Friday prayers, security guards intervened. But upon being stopped, the IJT men retaliated and assaulted Shoukat Ali.
An emergency meeting was summoned after the incident, under the chairmanship of Punjab University Vice Chancellor Dr Mujahid Kamran, which was also attended by Dr Jamil Anwar, Registrar Dr Muhammad Naeem Khan, Students Advisor Iftikhar Ahmad, Chief Security Officer Khalid Hassan and Controller Examinations Dr Zahid Karim among other officials.
Following the meeting, PU Director Public Relations Khawaja Tahir said that the university is planning to register an FIR against the IJT activists who were involved in this incident, which was yet another in a series of IJT attempts at disturbing the peaceful atmosphere on campus.
PU IJT Information Secretary Haris Saeed, however, denied that activists were distributing any political or organisational pamphlets when the security guards accosted them. He said the pamphlets were in favour of Dr Aafia and they already made an announcement in this regard. He said that police also arrested two IJT activists following the incident. Daily times
PU approves service structure for promotion of 4,000 employees
Lahore: Punjab University (PU) Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran has approved the new service structure for the promotion of over 4,000 varsity employees in BS 1 to BS 5 with immediate effect.
According to a PU press statement issued here on Sunday, the approval of the newly-drafted service structure which had been pending for the last 30 years has fulfilled the longstanding demand of the varsity employees, sending a wave of happiness and jubilation amongst them.
The work relating to the devising new service structure to pave way for their rapid promotion was entrusted to the Service Structure Committee, headed by Prof Dr Naseer Ahmad. In pursuance of directions of the vice-chancellor, the committee held several meetings and finalised its recommendations within a short period of two months.
The VC, in exercise of powers vested in him under section 15(3) of the PU Act 1973, has given his approval to the service structure of the said employees with immediate effect.
The statement added. "This decision of Dr Kamran to enforce the new service structure in respect of BS-1 to BS-5 employees is a living proof of his keen personal interest to improve the plight of low grade officials and enhance their welfare by opening up new avenues of expeditious promotion to them." This service structure would benefit over 4,000 said employees presently working against 77 different categories of ex-cadre posts in various varsity departments.
As per the new service structure, the existing BS 1 employees will now be eligible for promotion in grade 2 after five years, in grade 3/4 after 15 years and in grade 4/5 after 25 years. Similarly, those presently serving in BS-2 would be granted promotion to grade 3 after 5 years, grade 4 after 15 years and grade 5 after 25 years while employees in BS-3 will be promoted in grade 4 after 5 years, in grade 5 after 15 years and grade 6 after 25 years. In addition, the BS-4 functionaries after completion of 5 years service will be promoted to grade 5, after 15 years to grade 6 and after 25 years to grade 7. Moreover, the present BS-5 employees will be entitled to promotion in grade 6 after 5 years, in grade 7 after 15 years and in grade 8 after 25 years.
PU issued notice on disputed medals
Lahore: The Lahore High Court on Friday issued a notice to the Punjab University and sought reply by May 5 on the petition of a female student who blamed the University for depriving her of medals despite the fact that she stood first.
Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed issued this order on the petition of Saira Javed who submitted that she passed her Masters in Zoology as a regular student in 2006-2008 session from the Punjab University under semester system. She said she took first position by taking 85.50 percent marks in the MSc.
She said the university authorities instead of awarding her the gold medal gave it to Sidra Safdar who did her MSc as a student of Government Science College Wahdat Road and took 73 percent marks. She said the university used to award two gold medals for Zoology students-Sir William Roberts Gold Medal and Punjab University Gold Medal. She said this time the university authorities, practising an discrimination, awarded both the gold medals to Sidra Safdar. Advocate Raja Arif, counsel for the petitioner, told the court that when her client approached the university authorities, they flatly refused to entertain her plea by saying that for the said session they had decided to give both gold medals to one topper from students of the university and its affiliated colleges. She said when she asked the university authorities that after taking 85.50 percent marks, she deserved both gold medals but they said as the students of the colleges studied under annual exams system while the university students learnt under the semester system. And it is decided this year that 100 marks of a semester system student will be considered as 85 against the students of annual system therefore her numbers were less than Sidra, she quoted University authorities as saying.
PhD degree awarded at PU
Lahore: The viva voce examination and public defence of thesis of Saima Sharif for the award of a PhD degree in zoology was held at the Punjab University (PU) on Saturday. According to a press statement, the candidate successfully defended her thesis titled "Human manifestations in clinical aspects of vascular physiology in local population". Meanwhile, the Punjab University has awarded a PhD degree to Saadat Ali, s/o Niaz Ali, in Punjabi after approval of his research thesis titled "Punjabi Shairi Te Mosiqi Da Sumbundh: Tehqiqi Te Tanqeedi Jaiza." The news