VCs for three varsities: Teachers’ body opposes shortlisted candidates

Academic staff association says shortlisted aspirants face plagiarism, corruption charges

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Salahuddin Salarzai

ISLAMABAD

After a steering committee has reportedly shortlisted candidates for the vice-chancellor slots of three capital universities, the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) has written a letter to the president expressing serious concerns over the finalization of names.

The association said in the letter that of the shortlisted candidates, some of them were facing plagiarism and corruption charges, and they lack the competence and capability to run the affairs of universities.

According to sources, the steering committee has shortlisted several names for the vice-chancellor slots of the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI), the Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) and the Quaid Azam University (QAU).

According to the sources, among others, IIUI Vice-President Tahir Khalili, IIUI professor Mansoor Kundi and Higher Education Commission (HEC) former chairman Mukhtar Ahmed have been shortlisted by the steering committee for their possible appointment on the top slots of any of the three capital universities.

The sources claimed that Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, who had an agriculture degree, was teaching management sciences and he wrote two books but they were banned on plagiarism charges.

In a letter to the president, FAPUASA Islamabad chapter President Dr Sohail Yousaf has demanded to appoint competent and non-controversial persons as heads of the three federal universities.  “The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA), being an elected representative body of universities and faculties, would like to draw your kind attention towards the continuous media reports regarding violations of merit and shortlisting of controversial candidates with proven charges of plagiarism, misuse of authority, corruption, fake degrees against the prestigious posts of vice-chancellors of three federal universities including Quaid-i-Azam University, International Islamic University and Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad,” said the letter written the president.

“It has been the long-standing demand of all the stakeholders to ensure the appointment of vice-chancellors/rectors through an open, competitive and merit-based mechanism. The federal universities are already passing through a most turbulent time of the history. Corruption, nepotism and illegal appointments have ruined the overall teaching and research culture of the federally chartered varsities. The root cause of all such evils is the appointment of incompetent and corrupt heads of varsities,” the letter said.

It further said that “It is unfortunate that the persons responsible for such abysmal state of higher education are being considered again for the new top positions. The competent and dynamic personalities should be given a chance to lead higher education instead of corrupt and people with severe plagiarism charges. The process must be open and the credentials of the applicants must be made public so everyone can analyze the competency. The previous non-merit based appointments of the HEC chief and heads of varsities proved a big blow on progress of higher education and now it is the need of time to avoid inducting people with charges of corruption and plagiarism and are under investigation of NAB, otherwise, the higher education which is already on the verge of collapse may deteriorate further,” Dr Yousaf said in the letter.

The letter further mentioned that “the closed door secret policies may not pay any dividend to higher education and the adverse result of such policies can be observed in the higher education in Pakistan. The new government values education as its highest priority and it is expected that they may not choose the devastating path like its predecessor and ‘Naya’ Pakistan will initiate the reforms in higher education through merit-based transparent appointments in the universities”.

Dr Yousef while talking to Daily Morning Mail said that “our reservations and concerns are simple that proper procedures were not followed in this process. “Are there only three persons in Pakistan for the capital universities? It’s not appointment its seem like a transfer,” he said while referring to the three above-mentioned names.

Dr Yousaf further revealed that 200 applicants had applied for these vacancies but only four had been shortlisted and it was unbelievable. “These four are serving in the federal universities for the last 10 years and now every university is plagued with corruption and sleazy cases because of these people,” he said.

“The are corruption charges against the shortlisted candidates and they are also facing cases in the NAB. Is this the merit in ‘Naya Pakistan’? he questioned.

He said that “our two professors were dismissed by the IIUI management after they pointed out illegalities in the university and now everyone is silent on the issue. We have also discussed the issue of dismissal of the two faculty member with the new education minister.

PFSPUSA Islamabad chapter former president Dr Shahzad Ashraf said that Dr Mukhtar Ahmed did not have any qualification of international standing and he supervised PhD students with no full-time experience as head of any university.

“But, surprisingly, his name has been shortlisted despite proven charges of plagiarism, having a fake title of professor and the misuse of authority,” he said. Dr Ahmed was a political appointee of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government,” he said. He also said that the IIUI (foreigner) president was also facing several corruption charges and misuse of power but “our law and authorities are not taking any action against him”.