HEC official says move on merit and in CM’s powers
Monday, July 05, 2010
By Khalid Khattak
PUNJAB Governor Salman Taseer, who is also chancellor of all public universities of the province, has termed the recommendation of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for appointment of vice-chancellor of the Islamia University, Bahawalpur, a move against the policy decision of the Chancellors’ Committee, aimed at “limiting his powers.”
While commenting over the recent recommendation of the chief minister, the governor observed that only one person was recommended for appointment as VC of the university which was against the policy. He asked the CM to resubmit his recommendations.
He observed that in the second meeting of the Chancellors’ Committee, held on May 11, 2006 under the chairmanship of the president of Pakistan, it was, inter alia, decided that vice-chancellors of all provincial public universities should be appointed after advertisement through a search committee process. He said the search committee would be required to put up a panel of three names for approval of the chancellor from whom the VC might be selected.
“However, in the instant case the chief minister has recommended the name of only one person for appointment as vice-chancellor Islamia University, Bahawalpur, which is not only against the abovementioned policy decision of the Chancellors’ Committee but also limits the powers of the Governor/ Chancellor/Appointing Authority, conferred upon him under Section 14 (1) of the Islamia University of Bahawalpur Act, 1975, to appoint the vice-chancellor,” reads the governor’s response over the summary moved for appointment of IUB VC through the chief minister.
It has also been pointed out that writ petition No.639/2010 filed by Professor Dr Saleem Tariq Khan, dean IUB’s Faculty of Islamic Learning was still pending in the Lahore High Court, Bahawalpur Bench.
“Although a stay order, granted by the court in favour of the petitioner on 02.03.2010, has been withdrawn by a subsequent order of the court dated 19.05.2010, yet the final outcome of the writ petition was still awaited.”
The governor observed that the eligibility criteria/ qualification published in the national press for inviting applications for the position of vice-chancellor IUB was different from the eligibility criteria/guidelines formulated by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for the VCs of public sector universities.
“Moreover, the said criteria/qualification was published without approval of the competent authority, i.e. governor/chancellor. In the instant case, the eligibility criteria is the same as published by the Higher Education Department in respect of the position of the VC of the Government College University (GCU), Faisalabad, for which he (Governor/Chancellor) has already directed the Higher Education Department to withdraw the said advertisement and publish a fresh advertisement giving the criteria/guidelines evolved by the HEC.”
The Governor’s Secretariat also pointed out that GCU, Faisalabad, Acting VC Prof Dr Shahid Mehboob Rana and UET, Taxila, Acting VC Prof Dr Muhammad Akram Javed had filed ICAs No 243/2010, 244/2010 and 245/2010 against the dismissal of their writ petitions, on which the Lahore High Court had passed the following orders on 29.04.2010. “Subject to the notice for 12.5.2010, the operation of the impugned judgment shall remain suspended till the next date of hearing.” “Thus, inter alia, the matter of eligibility criteria/qualification for the post of vice chancellor, advertised by the Higher Education Department contradictory to that prescribed by the Higher Education Commission is sub judice,” read the governor’s observations.
It further reads, “In view of the foregoing, the appointment of a regular vice chancellor of the Islamia University of Bahawalpur at this stage will not only be unjustified/uncalled for but will also be against the verdict of the Lahore High Court, given in the ICAs No 243/2010 & 244/2010 filed by Professor Dr Shahid Mehboob Rana and Professor Dr Muhammad Akram Javed.”
It is learnt the panel finalised by the Search Committee, from which anyone will be appointed as VC IUB, includes Prof Dr Muhammad Mukhtar, Prof Dr Hayat Awan and Prof Dr Jamil Anwar.
When contacted, a senior official of the Punjab Higher Education Department said a detailed reply had been prepared by the department and had been forwarded to Governor through the Chief Minister Punjab.
He said as per decision of 2nd meeting of Chancellors’ Committee, appointment of VCs included two major steps, namely advertisement in the national press and Search Committee process, claiming both the steps were duly followed in the case of appointment of the IUB’s VC.
The official said minor changes were made in the eligibility criteria while claiming that the conditions incorporated in the advertisement for IUB were in line with the HEC’s criteria. He said the eligibility remained the same and just a preference was mentioned in the advertisement.
“No candidate with local PhD in any discipline was barred from applying for the post,” he maintained.
The HEC official said the chief minister had advised for appointment of a candidate at serial No. 1 out of panel of three candidates, claiming that it was strictly in accordance with merit and in the CM’s powers under Section 11 (8) of the Islamia University Bahawalpur Act 1975.
He further explained that the power of the chancellor, under Section 14 (1), had to be read with Section 11 (8) of the Islamia University Bahawalpur Act 1975 whereby Chancellor was bound to act on the advice of the chief minister.
He further said stay order granted to Prof Dr Saleem Tariq Khan, Dean Islamic Learning, IUB by the Honourable Lahore High Court, Bahawalpur Bench in Writ Petition No 639/2010 had been vacated by the Honourable Court on 19.05.2010 adding there was no bar by the Court to appoint VC in IUB.
The official said in case of the Islamia University, Bahawalpur, the petitioner was also considered by the Search Committee but he could not be short listed. He claimed that a comprehensive reply had been submitted to the Governor’s Secretariat so far as direction of governor on another summary to withdraw the advertisement in respect to position of vice-chancellor GCU Faisalabad and publishing a fresh advertisement were concerned.
The chief minister twice advised Governor/Chancellor on the issue and thus the issue had attained finality so far as views of government and chancellor were concerned,” he concluded.