In an ironic twist, Islamic International University Islamabad (IIUI) has implemented an Islamabad High Court (IHC) order to terminate two superannuated professors, only to appoint two other professors who are also past the age of superannuation.
The university administration implemented court orders by terminating the services of Quality Enhancement Director Dr Muhammad Riaz and International Relations Professor Dr Sohail Mahmood. Both of them were past the age of superannuation and were appointed on contract in violations of rules and without advertising the posts. The IHC cancelled the appointments as it was a violation of the rules and rights of deserving applicants.
However in a déjà vu situation, IIUI also recently appointed two superannuated professors in the Urdu department on contract without advertising the posts, with the decision again raising questions over merit as a factor in hiring. Dr Najeebuddin Jamal and Dr Tayyab Munir, both are superannuated but were still appointed on contract, with the latter now chairman of the Urdu department.
A number of other appointments of superannuated people have also been made without advertisements, including Dr Ghulam Yasin Chohan, dean of the faculty of Engineering and Technology, who was appointed on contract after his retirement from Kahuta Research Laboratory.
Another professor who is holding position of dean of Management Sciences does not fulfil the criteria of being a professor, but has been appointed dean despite the fact he is a full time employee of a private university.
When contacted, Islamic International University Vice President Shahibzada Sajidur Rehman, who is also acting president of the university, said that they have not violated any rules, as the rules allow the appointment of a professor up to the age of 65. He added that the IHC had cancelled the contracts of professors Mehmood and Riaz because they had been appointed without following due procedure. He said that there is no need to advertise positions for senior professors, which is done by the president on the recommendation of the rector and is ultimately approved by the university’s board of directors. He opined there is no harm in availing the expertise of senior educationists.
However, on the directives of the Establishment Division, the Higher Education Commission has already issued directives barring the universities from appointing superannuated persons on administrative positions and to advertise vacancies before making appointments against them.
The university has been in a serious administrative crisis due to the absence of a permanent president and the fact that the rector has been on leave for the last three months following controversy over his alleged liberalisation of university curriculum.
Quaid-i-Azam University Vice Chancellor Dr Masoom Yasinzai has been given the additional charge of IIUI rector in the absence of Professor Fateh Muhammad Malik, who is on leave till September 1.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2012.