PESHAWAR: Gunmen kidnapped the vice-chancellor of the Islamia College University (ICU) in Peshawar, Ajmal Khan, while he was on his way to office on Tuesday, police said.
SP Campus Peace Corps (CPC) Ijaz Ahmed told The Express Tribune that the incident occurred at the Professors Colony area, near Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Agricultural University at around 9:30 am.
“They took him to the Nasir Bagh side. All the kidnappers were bearded,” Ahmed said. The kidnappers have not contacted the vice-chancellor’s family, according to the police official. The professor had been warned about security threats. Two guards were provided to him but he returned them to the police, Ahmed said.
A senior police official said that militants were behind the kidnapping and Khan had probably been shifted to Khyber Agency, which is close to the Nasir Bagh area. So far, no organisation has claimed responsibility for the abduction.
Professor Dr Arbab Afridi, former president of Peshawar University Teachers Association (PUTA), condemned the kidnapping and said that if the vice-chancellor could not be protected by the government, then the educational institute will be doomed.
Professor Khan is the second vice chancellor to be kidnapped following the rise of militancy in the region. Earlier, Professor Lutfullah Khan Kakakhel, VC Kohat University of Science and Technology, was also kidnapped by suspected militants in November 2009,from the semi-tribal Darra Adamkhel region. He was released after remaining in captivity for almost seven months.
Ajmal Khan is one of the senior most academicians of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and had been the principal of the historic Islamia College, provost and registrar of the University of Peshawar and VC of Gomal University Dera Ismail Khan. Professor Khan is a close relative of Awami National Party (ANP) chief Asfandyar Wali Khan.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th, 2010.