Judicial scare: Sindh govt takes back decision to merge SM College with SMIU

Says it will wait for Sindh High Court’s verdict on the merger .

Noman Ahmed July 24, 2013
The merger of Sindh Muslim Government Science College (above) with the Sindh Madressatul Islam University was announced in a notification issued on Thursday. PHOTO: FILE.

KARACHI: The Sindh government has decided to withdraw its notification of the merger of Sindh Muslim (SM) Government Science College with Sindh Madressatul Islam University (SMIU), issued on July18, fearing a backlash from the Sindh High Court on meddling in this sub-judicial matter. 

The decision to revoke the merger notification until the SHC verdict on this matter was concluded in a meeting held on Tuesday, which was attended by the education department’s additional chief secretary Dr Fazlullah Pechuho, who initially issued the merger notification on July18, along with SMIU vice-chancellor Dr Muhammad Ali Shaikh and other educational department officials and legal advisers.

The court matter was not in my knowledge as the petitioners did not make the provincial education department aware of it,” Dr Pechuho told the The Express Tribune. “We have decided to withdraw the notification on the college’s merger with the SMIU as the matter is clearly sub judice and the notification could have legal implications, leading to the court’s contempt,” he further added.

An education department official said that on Tuesday’s meeting, “The discussion centered on the lamentable behaviour of the SMIU administration, as well as, few officials of the education department who failed to provide correct and complete information to the education secretary on this whole affair.” It was unanimously decided that the provincial education department will keep the SM Science College until further orders, another education department official said.

The decision to merge a public college to SMIU, which was awarded university status in 2012 will not sit well with the SHC, as the court had previously issued a stay order after the students’ parents filed a petition against changing the college’s status, reported The Express Tribune on Monday.

Karachi colleges director Dr Nasir Ansar said that he was informed about the merger of SM Science College, one of the 132 public colleges in Karachi to SMIU, “but since the notification has been withdrawn, the directorate will announce around 600 admissions to SM College under its centralised admission policy, starting by the end of July,” he added.

Despite a surge in college admissions each year, the provincial government had already forked out three of its colleges, which includes St Joseph’s College for Women, St Patrick’s College and Government College for Women in Shireen Jinnah Colony to the autonomous entities within a span of eight years, he explained. “I believe, nobody agrees that public colleges should be handed over to autonomous bodies who then run them according to their own policies pertaining to admissions and fee structure,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2013.