Governor Sardar Latif Khan Khosa is pressing Punjab University Vice Chancellor Mujahid Kamran to restore Dr Iftikhar Baloch, who was dismissed from his post as principal of PU’s College of Earth and Environmental Sciences (CEES) on charges of sexual harassment, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Sources said that Khosa had written an official letter inviting the inquiry team that investigated the charges against Dr Baloch and the vice chancellor to Governor’s House on June 4.
During their three-hour meeting, the governor told the vice chancellor he was not happy with the inquiry and that he should restore the disgraced teacher to his post within seven days, or the governor would do so himself in his capacity as chancellor of all public universities in the province.
University officials said, however, that with control over education being ceded to the provinces in the 18th Amendment, the governor no longer had the authority to ‘advise’ the vice chancellor. They said that this was now the chief minister’s prerogative.
A member of the PU Syndicate said that the governor had not given his ‘advice’ to the vice chancellor in writing, only verbally, “because he knows that it’s not right after 18th Amendment. PU additional registrar Dr Aurangzeb Alamgir told The Express Tribune that the chancellor no longer had the power to review a decision of the syndicate. “The governor should seek advice from the chief minister before giving directions to anyone in the varsity,” he said.
He said he could think of no precedent where a court or chancellor had reviewed the syndicate’s decision. “There is no way that governor can use his discretionary powers to restore Dr Baloch. He has to get the chief minister’s advice and only then can there be any possibility of reviewing this decision,” he said.
Governor’s House public relations officer Ishtique Amin said that he would not comment on the issue until he got a response from the Governor’s Secretariat. “I will check the record for the letter which was written to the vice chancellor and then respond,” he said. PU faculty members, especially female teachers, voiced anger at the governor’s supposed instructions and vowed to protest if the professor is restored.
The Punjab University Syndicate dismissed Prof Baloch in April after the four-member inquiry committee found him guilty of sexually harassing a PhD student and an administrator. The university administration also found “objectionable items” in his office retiring room.
The inquiry committee was headed by Faculty of Islamic Studies Dean Prof Dr Hafiz Mahmood Akhtar and included Hailey College of Commerce principal Prof Dr Liaquat Ali, College of Art and Design principal Prof Dr Rahat Naveed Masud and additional registrar Dr Aurangzeb Alamgir. Later the Punjab government also conducted an inquiry that found the professor guilty and recommended his sacking.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2011.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ