KARACHI – Voicing concern over the alleged interference of Sindh governor in the appointment of vice chancellors in institutions of higher learning of the province, Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) and representatives of civil society organisations called for appointment of a vice chancellor at the Dow University of Health Science (DUHS) on merit and without any further delay.
Representatives of PMA, Aurat Foundation and Irtiqa Institute of Social Sciences were speaking at a news conference held here on Saturday at Karachi Press Club.
Criticizing the recent appointment of a pro-vice chancellor at the DUHS by the governor, they said that it was against all cannons of law, merit, rules and regulations.
“We are extremely concerned over the governor’s actions, all against merit and the cause of fall in educational standards. During his long tenure, he has not appointed a single vice chancellor on the basis of merit at any university of the province and continues to interfere in the affairs of the search committee, appointed by the government to select a vice chancellor, though his powers under the new law has been greatly curtailed,” said PMA secretary general Dr Mirza Azhar Ali.
He said that the DUHS was the worst example `of governor’s unlawful actions’ that destroyed medical education and forced many honest and dedicated faculty members to leave the university out of frustration.
Asked why the governor is bent upon on continuing with Prof Masood Hameed Khan as the DUHS vice chancellor, he said that there seemed to be no obvious reason other than the fact that he wanted to protect his `vested interests’ as the tenures of Prof Khan were marred by corruptions. “He (the governor) apprehends that his illegal actions will be exposed if an honest person takes over the DUHS,” he added.
He said after completion of three tenures of VC-ship he appointed Massod Hameed as acting VC against the rules and regulation.
Recalling events that led to the present crisis, Dr Azhar said that Prof Khan took the charge as the DUHS vice chancellor in 2004 and got an extension in 2008, which came to an end in 2012. He was again granted extension for the third time in 2013 but in the same year the law on universities was amended and tenure of a vice chancellor was restricted to only two terms.
Prof Khan went to the court against the amendment, but his appeal was dismissed and he had to vacate his post for three months. Later, in 2014, the government amended the law to provide him another opportunity to serve as the vice chancellor. “The amendment was again challenged and, as a result, he was allowed to serve as the vice chancellor by the court with limited administrative powers,” he said.
Prof Khan finally left his seat in September las year after which the government appointed Prof Umar Farooq, the then pro-vice chancellor of DUHS, and Prof Mohammad Qaiser, who had nothing to do with medical education, as acting vice chancellor for a brief period.
Later, the governor again violated the law by appointing Prof Naushad Sheikh, already serving as the vice chancellor of Liaquat University of Medical and Heaalth Science (LUMHS) as the DUHS vice chancellor. Mr Sheikh was removed on court orders but he was appointed again as the vice chancellor by the governor. The court ordered Prof Sheikh to leave and instructed the government to create a new search committee and include in it two foreign qualified PhDs and retake the interviews,” he said.
The governor, however, again appointed his `favourite’ Dr Khan as acting vice chancellor. The decision was challenged and Dr Khan was instructed not to take any major s till the search committee made recommendations to the chief minister. “But, he is taking all decisions, including promotion, sacking and appointment.
Speaking on the occasion, a former member of Pakistan Medical & Dental Council (PMDC), Dr Shershah Syed said that though the search committee has, once again, recommended Prof Saeed Qureshi for the post of DUHS vice chancellor, the governor was dilly- dallying on it so that he can appoint his `favorite’ candidate.
“There is no VC at DUHS for the last nine months and the institution has already suffered a lot,” he said, adding that “the situation prevailing at the DUHS was not acceptable and members of civil society believe that the governor should be sacked because of his `uncalled for’ interference in appointments of academia.”
Accusing the governor and his `non- academic’ team responsible for destruction of education, especially medical education, in Sindh, Dr Shershah claimed that the new DUHS pro-vice chancellor, who happens to be brother of Chief Justice of Pakistan, Anwar ZaheerJamali, was unlawfully appointed as professor at the LUMHS.
Mehnaz Rehman of the Aurat Foundation said violation of merit in appointment of VC of universes is not acceptable and the civil society has deep reservation on it.
Kaleem Durrani of Irtiqa Institute of Social Sciences said that the youth of Karachi had a history of excellence in academic field but this talent was being destroyed by what he described as `political adjustments of provincial resources.’
Dr Abdul Ghafoor Shoro also spoke on the occasion.