ISLAMABAD, July 20: Planning Division of Punjab on Friday stopped the process of appointment of 129 employees at Pir Mehr Ali Shah-University of Arid Agriculture Rawalpindi and referred the case to Director Anti-Corruption, Rawalpindi.
On the other hand, management of the university continued to interview candidates, despite the fact that three members appointed by the syndicate University Selection Board refused to become part of the process, Dawn has learnt.According to documents available with Dawn, on Friday, Deputy Secretary Planning Punjab, Naeem Khalid sent an urgent letter to the management of the university in which it was stated that a number of complaints were received that appointments were being done in violation of rules, so the process should be stopped immediately.
Another letter was written to the Director of Anti-Corruption, Rawalpindi, to inquire into the issue and submit a detailed report.
Meanwhile, three members appointed by the syndicate on University Selection Board namely Prof Dr Riaz H. Qureshi, Dr Anwar Naseem and Saeed Iqbal Khan refused to participate in
the meeting, causing the quorum to be short of the required number.
In order to overcome the quorum problem, the acting vice-chancellor (VC), Dr Mohammad Irfanul Haq appointed three new members in their place and continued the process of interviews.
Few of the aggrieved applicants also filed a petition before the honourable high court to redress their grievances, which was accepted by the court and granted interim relief on Friday and ordered the university to stop the recruitment against these posts, till the final disposal of petition but still the process of selection went on. Prof Dr Fayyazul Hassan Sahi, general secretary Academic Staff Association (ASA), told Dawn that despite the instructions of the higher authorities and court orders, the VC continued the process of appointments.
“It seems that there were some personal intentions of the management to hire employees of their choice, so they did not stop the process,” he said.
It is worth mentioning that upon the retirement of the regular VC, Prof Dr Irfanul Haq was given charge of acting VC in the last week of May till July 29, 2012 (age of superannuation) to
run day-to-day affairs of the university.
The acting VC advertised 129 posts. Resultantly, all the elected members of the university syndicate and ASA decided to oppose the decision.
The chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan also took notice and asked the VC to stop but in vain.
Therefore, the HEC chairman apprised the chancellor to intervene in the matter.
The university’s VC, Dr Irfanul Haq, while talking to Dawn said he had arranged three members of the selection board including two deans of the university.
Selection will be completed by Saturday and minutes of meeting will be handed over to all members the same day.
“I have insured that all the selection would be done on merit and no one will be able to raise a finger on hiring. All departments including anti- corruption department and media can look into the process,” he said.
Inamullah Khattak adds: The VC of the university Prof Dr Irfanul Haq says that the appointments are being made according to the rules and criteria, while office-bearers of ASA of the university — particularly its newly elected president Dr Nadeem Abbasi — think the opposite, terming the hiring illogical and illegal.
The university has been hit hard by shortage of faculty and administrative staff since years, triggering the VC to constitute a selection board and a syndicate each comprising a 10-member team for short-listing qualified staff for the institution.
The VC, Dr Irfanullah told Dawn that the process of appointment would continue and every office including the court would be satisfied.
“I have replied to Punjab government for removing its reservations over the appointments and Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told me to go ahead with the appointments,” the VC claimed.
He said that proper advertisement had been floated in national dailies for the staff, adding that the university was already hit by faculty shortage and further delay would ruin the careers of students.
However, newly-elected president ASA Dr Nadeem Abbasi said the appointments were being made in haste, at a time when the VC was reaching superannuation on July 29 this month, arguing that the VC was inducting staff of his choice.
He said the issue had been challenged in a court of law and vowed to expose the faculty members involved in illegal appointments as there was no allocation in the budget for hiring of teaching staff.