PESHAWAR: A court order declaring the appointment of the vice chancellor illegal and gaps in the administrative set-up have been impacting the image and working of the historic Islamia College University (ICU) in Peshawar, one of the most prestigious educational institutes of the country.
Students are now suffering due to mismanagement. With a number of teachers taken up with filling key administrative gaps, classes are now being affected.
On February 1, the Peshawar High Court declared the appointment of Islamia College University (ICU) Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Habib Ahmad as illegal.
The court had issued the order after a writ petition was filed by Prof Dr Yaseen Iqbal, who argued that Dr Ahmad was ineligible for the post.
Dr Ahmad, who had cleared two exams in the third division, had been recommended and appointed the vice chancellor of an institution where students who have secured even 90 per cent marks fail to get admission due to the tough, merit-based admissions policy.
Similarly, according to the documents available with The Express Tribune, last year the ICU administration had appointed 26 junior clerks against only two positions advertised in the press. Moreover, several people had been appointed in the varsity on basic pay scale (BPS)-17 without the posts being advertised beforehand, a legal requirement for public sector universities.
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An official at the ICU, who spoke to The Express Tribune on the condition of anonymity since he is not authorised to speak to the media, alleged that the vice chancellor had promoted several blue-eyed employees.
He added that while the vice chancellor had the power to appoint employees from BPS-1 to 17 without seeking approval from the university’s board or syndicate, he could not violate the rules.
Moreover, the VC appointed a number of faculty members on administrative positions which not only disturbed scheduled classes but was also against the rules.
The official said that despite certain notifications from the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Higher Education Department to keep the faculty from administration positions, all key seats in the ICU were now occupied by faculty members.
Wajid Ali, a student at ICU Peshawar, told The Express Tribune, that the varsity enjoys a great reputation around the world. However, irregularities, mismanagement, and internal wars between employees have only tarnished the name of the varsity.
He urged the provincial government to take serious notice of the issue, restore the name of this historical institution and bring administrative order.
Another student of the institution, Waqas Khan, lamented that ICU was a historical and prestigious college of the province. But ever since it had been upgraded to a university, it started to deteriorate.
He argued that the college was not fit to become a university for several reasons. Waqas explained, adding that the previous government wanted to set up a varsity in the province without having to spend money on building a new campus.
However, the 100-year-old ICU, he said, had insufficient space and resources to become a modern university.
Meanwhile, ICU Register DrTauqeer Alam Talking told The Express Tribune that they have yet to receive any letter from the provincial government which notified that Dr Ahmad had been disqualified as the vice chancellor of ICU.
He added that the ICU vice chancellor had qualified for his seat by meeting all the listed requirements of educational certification, experience and achievements and that he had been appointed after clearing the government-mandated appointment process.
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Dr Alam further said that as per the Universities Act, the vice chancellor has the power to either increase or decrease positions in the varsities and to appoint employees from BPS-1 to 16. Employees can even be appointed in BPS-17, but for a short period to fill posts on need-basis.
Asked about the procedure of a VC’s disqualification, Dr Alam explained that the vice chancellor can only be disqualified by the provincial government after following the stipulated procedure.
About the teaching faculty working on administration positions, he said that the move had been necessitated owing to a lack of qualified people in the university to run matters.
However, when the argument was made that the move was impacting classes, the registrar categorically stated that teachers are taking classes on time.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2018.