Tussle over vice chancellors continues

Khosa’s order for appointments sent back to Governor’s House.


Ali Usman July 12, 2011

LAHORE:


The dispute over who has the power to appoint vice chancellors to public universities in the province continued on Tuesday, with the Punjab government sending back to Governor’s House summaries for the appointment of three candidates with a request that the governor reconsider his decision to reject the chief minister’s nominees.


Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had recommended the appointment of Prof Dr Akram Kashmiri to Government College University (GCU), Dr Syed Khawaja Alqama to Bahauddin Zakriya University (BZU) in Multan, and Dr Faizul Hassan to the University of Education (UoE) Lahore.

On July 7, Governor Sardar Latif Khosa rejected the nominations, and instead issued orders for the appointment of Prof Dr Muhammad Khaliqur Rehman to GCU, Prof Dr Muhammad Zafarullah to BZU, and Prof Dr Chaudhry Jamil Anwar to UoE, noting that they were the candidates preferred by the search committee.

The Higher Education Department has sent back the summaries to Governor’s House, urging Khosa to reconsider his decision and appoint the candidates recommended by Sharif, said a department official on Tuesday.

While the two sides argue over who has the final say on the appointments, the budgets of these universities is yet to be finalised because they don’t have vice chancellors, an acting vice chancellor told The Express Tribune. “While they fight it is the universities that are suffering,” he said.

The Higher Education Department official argued that since the 18th Amendment had made education a provincial subject, the governor was bound to follow the chief minister’s recommendation.

“In all three summaries the governor quoted either a Chancellors’ Committee meeting held on 11-05-2006, according to which the appointment of vice chancellors is the governor’s prerogative, or the University Acts. But these are no longer relevant after the 18th Amendment. Now it is the chief minister’s prerogative,” he said.

Abdullah Malik, an advisor to the governor, said it was unconstitutional of the Punjab government to send the summaries back to the governor. “The governor chose candidates on merit, from those recommended by the chief minister himself. He has performed his constitutional duty and the Punjab government should respect it instead of making an issue out of it,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2011.

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