The president has rejected three names for a new vice chancellor proposed by the Urdu university after a search that began in February.
The proposed names for VC were: Dr Syed Altaf Hussain, who is the former VC of Allama Iqbal Open University, Prof. Dr Zafar Iqbal, who is the dean of arts at Karachi University, and Dr Moinuddin Ahmed who is a professor at Urdu university’s botany department.
A search committee of nine experts came up with these names. The list was rejected last week by the president as the chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Dr Javaid Laghari, had objected that these professors were not competent. Dr Laghari was closely involved with the search itself. He headed the search committee that recommended these names. He is also a member of the Urdu university senate that put the names forward in the first place.
The Express Tribune asked Dr Laghari on Monday whether it was not counter intuitive for him to be part of the process of deciding the three names but then object to them right at the end. He replied that even when he was on the search committee he had reservations on the quality of candidates. “All three were men of below-average performance.”
But at that time he couldn’t veto the choices and had to go along with the majority as it was part of the democratic process. As a FUUAST senate member, he had the responsibility to express his concerns. But the senate still voted three out the four names through. “I had no choice but to present my concerns directly to the president [later on],” he said.
The search for a VC began in February after FUUAST lost Dr Muhammad Qaiser when he was put in charge of Karachi University. The search committee went through 49 applications. It recommended four names on May 28 and gave them to senate on June 5. The senate met on July 29 and sent forward three names. “The search committee had kept its integrity and adopted the process which was completely transparent,” said Prof. Dr Tauseef Ahmed Khan, one of the search committee members. “We met the standards set by the HEC.”
In Dr Khan’s view, the HEC chairman should not take the responsibility of heading any search committee for the appointment of vice chancellors. Dr Laghari has headed VC search committees for at least two other federal universities including Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad and Allama Iqbal Open University.
FUUAST’s senate will now meet on September 5 to discuss material received from President House, said registrar Dr Qamarul Haq.
President Asif Ali Zardari had asked HEC chairman Dr Javed Laghari to head the search committee and IBA director Dr Ishrat Husain was his second nominee. The committee included former KU VC Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui, former federal secretary Dr Masuma Hasan, former KU political science department head Prof. Dr Tanvir Khalid, FUUAST’s Prof. Dr Tauseef Ahmed Khan and Prof. Muhammad Zahid, Sindh Governor’s principal secretary Mumtazur Rahman and Liaquat Medical University VC Dr Naushad Shaikh.
The performance of VC candidates is measured in part by their research published, kind of administrative experience. A total of 135 marks are allocated for academic and non-academic qualifications.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2012.