LAHORE: Punjab University’s (PU) Dean of Behavioral and Social Sciences Dr Mugheesuddin Shaikh is likely to proceed on leave prior to retirement (LPR) in the first week of October, sources close to the vice chancellor’s (VC) office said on Tuesday.
The decision to allow LPR, the recommendation for his dismissal by the inquiry officer in a result-tampering case not withstanding, will allow Dr Shaikh a one-kanal plot at the university faculty’s cooperative housing, Rs36,000 pension per month and gratuity. He would also retain his university residence for a year without paying anything.
The allegations against Dr Shaikh and the Institute of Communication Studies (ICS) director, Dr Ahsan Akhtar Naz, were reported to the vice chancellor Dr Mujahid Kamran by Dr Affira Hamid, an ICS colleague, on June 21, 2010. In her application she complained about that in violation of the rules of the PhD programme, Dr Shaikh and Dr Naz She had enrolled two students in the second semester despite failing in the first semester exams. She also highlighted some other irregularities including some admissions decisions and mentioned that an IJT nazim, expelled from the varsity in 2005, was illegally re-admitted by Dr Naz.
The VC appointed Dr Khan Ross Masood, a senior faculty member, to inquire into the allegations. Dr Masood submitted a report on July 27. The report said that Dr Shaikh and Dr Naz had tampered the records and should be dismissed from their posts immediately. Entire record of the ICS should be moved to the VC’s possession and examined thoroughly.It said that the dean had forged Dr Shaista Nuzhat’s signatures and recommended registration of a criminal case against Dr Shaikh. The report said that the dean and the director had held illegal special exams. It said M Phil results, degrees and overseas scholarships based on these results should be cancelled and all benefits on this ground withdrawn. It suggested that all steps taken by the M Phil Admission Committee should be set aside.
Dr Affira regretted that two months after the inquiry report was received, the VC remained hesitant to dismiss Dr Shaikh. According to the PU rules, if a teacher is terminated, he is not entitled to retirement benefits.
Other PU teachers also disapproved of the VC’s lack of action. They said according to university rules , the VC was required to take actions recommended in the inquiry report.
A teacher, who didn’t want to be mentioned by name, said that the PU teachers affiliate with the Islami Jamiat Tulaba (IJT) had been pressuring the VC not to dismiss Shaikh and Naz.
Some other teachers said Dr Shaikh and his supporters were trying to persuade some parliamentarians, whom he had close contacts with, to approach Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, an alumni of the department, and intervene on his behalf.
For his part, Dr Shaikh called the inquiry ‘unlawful’. He said that Dr Masood, being his junior, couldn’t hold an inquiry against him. He said that the LPR was his right. “A director or a dean cannot be hanged if a clerk makes a mistake,” he added. Dr Naz denied all allegations. He said that every thing at the ICS had happened according to the rules. He said that Dr Affira had her eyes on professorship and directorship. He said, “All decisions in connection with the admissions were taken by a committee of the department. Dr Affira is a member of that committee and was a part of the decisions.”
PU Academic Staff Association president, Maher Saeed Akhtar, said that ‘some elements’ were trying to defame Punjab University by highlighting such matters. He said, “First there should be an inquiry about how the inquiry report was leaked to media. The VC should take strict action against those involved in any illegal activities, including tampering of record”.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 30th, 2010.