Uncertainty looms over the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (FUUAST) Islamabad as since August last year, campus heads have either been changed or transferred six times.
This was done as the heads were “not in the good books of [the] top management”, revealed a senior professor at the university.
The latest episode of sending the campus in-charge packing started when the illegal transfer of Rs150 million was reported, allegedly by four university employees.
The initial investigation carried out by the recently removed in-charge campus, Lt Gen (retired) Shahid Aziz, revealed that the said amount from the university’s funds had been deposited from an authorised account in the same bank to an illegal account on July 23, 2013 through collusion of some of the Karachi campus officials.
When the matter was brought to the knowledge of the university’s vice-chancellor Dr Zafar Iqbal, he formed a five-member committee, headed by the varsity’s Dean of Engineering Dr Abdul Razzaq Memon, to investigate the matter.
Aziz, who had started the investigation, was then sidelined.
Sources privy to the investigation stated that Aziz’s investigation was pointing towards top officials in Karachi but Memon was appointed to hush up the names of prime suspects.
Later, Aziz was forced to leave and last week Memon was handed over acting charge of head of the campus for the third time during one year.
The then campus in-charge Dr Zahid Saleem was removed from his office in August 2013 after the arrival of new VC Zafar Iqbal. Memon was handed over acting charge for two months after which Dr Waheedul Zaman took charge that lasted for one month. After that, Memon was again brought back at the top post.
Aziz came to head the Islamabad campus but the money transfer scam and pressure from the top management forced him to leave and now Memon is heading the university for the third time.
The VC’s personal secretary Abdul Rashid Bangash, varsity accountant Hammad Kayani, audit officer Rana Asif, deputy registrar Shah Muhammad and another official were found involved in opening the new account and were suspended.
Talks with several teachers and other staff revealed that the accused did open the account but were made scapegoats on the orders of the top management.
Following the suspension of the accused, a month-long protest was staged inside the varsity building against the current vice-chancellor, Iqbal, and other staff for alleged corruption and wrongdoings.
All this mayhem has had an adverse impact on the academic activities in the university and students.
The students in their final years who have to present their projects to supervisors and complete their theses are badly affected. Since July, the protest has brought every matter to a standstill.
Memon told The Express Tribune that the change of in-charge campus was unfortunate but they were trying to address the issues which surfaced due to politics and groupings. “Since the case of corruption against the employees is with the Federal Investigation Agency, we have to wait for the final report,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2014.