Irregularities in arid varsity: Retiring VC issues ‘backdated appointment letters’

Decision on the appointments will be finalised in a syndicate meeting.

Our Correspondent July 30, 2012


The administration of Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University (AAU) seems bent on proceeding with appointments in violation of several university rules.

Senior faculty members and administration officials told The Express Tribune that Vice-Chancellor Dr Muhammad Irfan issued back-dated appointment letters to the shortlisted candidates on Saturday, subject to the university’s syndicate approval.

The syndicate, in a meeting on Friday, rejected the selection board’s recommendation to appoint 129 teaching and non-teaching staff members at the varsity. The participants observed that they weren’t given the copies of meeting’s agenda and were not prepared to make any decision since the meeting was called in a hurry.

“The VC [who retired on Sunday], attended his office on Saturday despite it being a holiday and issued conditional appointment letters to the candidates,” said a senior administration official. He added that the letters were dated July 26, when the selection board recommended the candidates.

“The syndicate has now decided to meet on August 27, but the administration is adamant on proceeding without approval,” said AAU Academic Staff Association President Dr Nadeem Abbasi.

According to Abbasi, objections over the selection board’s constitution have also been raised, as several “irrelevant staff members were included” in it.

Highlighting the irregularities in appointments, Abbasi said that a total of 129 posts for gazette and non-gazette positions were advertised by the university earlier. The candidates were given only seven days to apply, which violates the university’s rules of giving potential candidates three to four weeks for application.

On July 20, the selection board’s meeting was postponed after the controversy was highlighted by the academic staff and a member of the Higher Education Commission refused to attend the meeting.

The Punjab agriculture secretary then directed the VC to stop the process of appointments until the irregularities were resolved. An inquiry was also initiated by Rawalpindi Anti-Corruption Establishment. A two-member committee comprising two deputy directors was formed to probe into the matter. However, despite all of that, the administration decided to go ahead with the appointments.

VC Irfan and the registrar were unreachable for a comment despite several attempts.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2012.