There will be a change of faces at the University of Karachi (KU) on Friday (today) when Dr Muhammad Qaiser takes over as the 16th vice chancellor of the institution, replacing Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui who presided over the affairs of the university for eight years from 2004 to 2012.
The chancellor of the university, Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad, has approved Dr Qaiser’s appointment and a notification to this effect was issued on Thursday evening.
“Formalities have been completed and all I was waiting for was a formal letter from Sindh governor which I have just received,” a jubilant Dr Qaiser told The Express Tribune. “The official ceremony to induct the new vice chancellor will take place tomorrow (Friday) morning around 11 am,” he said while adding that he had already spoken to Dr Pirzada Qasim to discuss the formalities.
Even after taking over the charge at Karachi University, Dr Qaiser would continue to serve as vice chancellor of the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology until the appointment of his successor there.
“The process of this appointment of new VC at Urdu university will be initiated in a week’s time and I have already called a meeting of the university’s senate to form a search committee that would advertise the post for applications,” he added.
Since Urdu university is a federal institution, the Sindh governor had sent a formal request to the president seeking his permission to relieve Dr Qaiser after a search committee formed by the governor had recommended his name for the top slot at KU.
“Earlier on Wednesday, I had received a go-ahead from the President of Pakistan to join the Karachi University but the letter also stated that I have to continue at Urdu university till some body else takes over the charge of vice chancellor there,” he said adding that after receiving permission from the president he had a detailed meeting with officials in the governor secretariat on the same day.
Talking about his plans to manage the affairs of the Karachi University where political intervention in academic and administrative matters has reached alarming levels, Dr Qaiser told The Express Tribune that problems arise when the authorities let their personal preferences come in while deciding matters and start neglecting what is best in the interest of institution. “I will see that merit will be ensured in all matters and this is the only way to curb political interference,” he said.
Meanwhile, scientist-turned-poet Dr Pirzada Qasim, who remained associated with Karachi University since 1966 and whose tenure of eight years as vice chancellor was second longest after the 10 years term of Dr Ishtiaq Hussain Quraishi (1961 to 1971), will be joining Ziauddin University as its vice chancellor in the next few days, said Shamsul Haq, secretary to the vice chancellor.
Born in 1946, Dr Qaiser did his MSc from University of Karachi in 1967 and started his career as a lecturer of botany. After doing PhD in 1976, he joined Freie Universität in Berlin where he did research in the field of botany. He was promoted to professorship in 1985 and served as chairman of the Department of Botany from October 2001 to 2004. In May 2004 he was appointed as Dean Faculty of Science. He also served as registrar of Karachi University from August 1999 to August 2001 and again for six months from January 2004 to July 2004. In January 2008, he took over as vice chancellor of Urdu University replacing Dr Pirzada Qasim who left the post as its first VC to come back to Karachi University.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2012.