Fair play does not seem to be among the rules of the game at Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU), where, in violation of set rules, two top officials have recommended themselves for promotion to grade-22. Whether the two meet the required criteria can also be questioned.
On May 7, Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) Acting Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Asghar Ali Chisti and Registrar Prof Dr Nowshad Khan convened a meeting of a selection board (SB) to get recommendations for their own promotion to grade-22 as meritorious professors, documents available with The Express Tribune revealed.
According to the university’s governing act, only a quorum of at least three persons--- one member of the executive council (EC) and two other persons of eminence nominated by the chancellor --- can conduct SB meetings and recommend names for the EC to consider.
But in this case, the VC attended the meeting as the third member of the SB, while the registrar presented the agenda. If the quorum (three persons) was not present, the SB meeting should have been adjourned or cancelled.
Two other members of the SB included FPSC member Imtiaz Hussain Kazmi and Ministry of Education Joint Secretary Tariq Nawaz Janjua, who neither raised an objection to the quorum nor asked the VC and the registrar to quit the meeting because they were the candidates for promotion.
In violation of the rules, the acting VC and the registrar did not quit the meeting, nor was the issue mentioned in the minutes of the meeting. Instead, the agenda recommended that the acting VC, who was chairing the meeting, and the registrar should be considered for promotion.
The SB recommendations will be presented at a meeting of to the executive council on August 28.
Interestingly, no member from the executive council or members nominated by the president were part of the SB meeting.
In addition, both persons do not fulfill the criterion for promotion to grade-22 due to plagiarism charges against the acting VC and an adverse ACR against the registrar.
The HEC found the acting VC guilty of publishing a plagiarised paper titled “Normative nature of Islamic law and its contribution in global society”. The HEC standing committee in its 12th meeting had asked the author to submit an apology. The whole detail was also mentioned in his service history, but was not mentioned in the agenda presented to the selection board. According the rules, a convicted person cannot be promoted to the status of meritorious professor.
According to the documents available with The Express Tribune, it was mentioned in the 2012 ACR of Dr Noshad that he was creating hurdles to the routine work of the university, especially in shortlisting candidates. It was further mentioned in the ACR that the registrar publically addressed and supported subservice and unethical meetings of the lower grade employees by asking them to act against the university administration. The ACR says that the registrar was also involved in creating an adverse law and order situation at the university by instigating his staff to indulge in subversive activities.
Interestingly, the ACR was omitted from the agenda when it was presented to the selection board by the registrar. The profile, service record and other details provided to the SB meeting did not match the actual university records.
Instead, Dr Nowshad without providing the actual ACR got issued a letter from the registrar office that his ACR for the year 2012 had been upgraded from ‘satisfactory’ to ‘excellent’. The SB members also did not bother to go into details and recommended him for promotion.
It is the responsibility of the SB to scrutinise names before approving them for promotion. Besides this, both the VC and the registrar did not contribute a single write-up for an international publication in the last four years, as publication of articles is mandatory for any person aspiring for promotion to grade-22.
The AIOU registrar, when contacted, first denied that any such thing even happened. When informed that the documents were available with The Express Tribune, however, he admitted that the SB had recommended their names for promotion. He claimed that the recommendations were not final.
He said that the VC could not quit the meeting because it was the matter of meritorious professors, despite the fact that it was against the AIOU act. He claimed that a separate committee constituted by university administration had recommended their names for promotion on the basis of seniority and he had no role in finalising the list. The registrar claimed that he deserved promotion as he had presented 12 international papers and won two international awards. He said that the ex-VC included adverse remarks in his ACR because of personal differences.
He also denied that the acting VC was convicted in a plagiarism case, before admitting that the HEC issued a notification “accusing him” of involvement in plagiarism. He added that the issue was now closed and had nothing to do with the acting VC’s promotion.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th,2014.
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