Campus violence: Genetics dean takes over as Hazara University’s acting VC resigns

Published: June 15, 2015
Hazara University PHOTO: ILM

Hazara University PHOTO: ILM

MANSEHRA: Hazara University Acting Vice Chancellor Dr Sohail Shehzad has resigned from his office after a brawl between Pashto-speaking students and Hindko-speaking security guards took place in the premises of the varsity on June 11. For now, the dean of the genetics department, Dr Habib Ahmad, has taken charge as the acting VC. The university closed for summer vacations in advance instead of Monday (today).

“He has resigned from his office in protest as he was upset by Friday’s incident,” Hafeezur Rehman, a lecturer at the economics department and the chief proctor, told The Express Tribune on Saturday after the VC resigned. Rehman added he also resigned, before the VC did, from the office of chief proctor to lodge his protest against the incident.

Facebook resignation

A registrar at the university, Professor Kala Khan, said he had learnt about the VC’s resignation through an update on his Facebook profile but at the time was unable to speak to him since the VC was in a meeting.

Shehzad could not be approached for comments despite repeated attempts as his personal assistant said he was getting his statement recorded before the enquiry committee formed on the order of Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan. The committee was headed by Abbottabad University of Science & Technology Project Director Abdul Ghafoor.

Officials said Dr Shehzad was the dean of law and management sciences department in the university before being appointed as the acting VC after Dr Syed Sakhawat Shah retired in 2013. Since then there has not been a permanent VC appointed by the Higher Education Commission, leaving Shehzad to be blamed for the decline in the varsity’s rating.

However, another source at Hazara University said HEC recently opened up entries for applications from suitable candidates for the post and June 18 is the last date.

Grenades not gangs

On June 11, Aman, a student enrolled in the MPhil programme, got into a scuffle with two Hindko-speaking security guards at the main entrance of the University in Mansehra.

The fight was triggered when the guards asked Aman to stop for a pat down and a search. With long-standing ethnic differences between Hinko and Pushto-speaking people, Aman took offence and called his brothers Sohail and Asad, who are also students at the university.

The students allegedly thrashed the security guards and tensions increased when shopkeepers, members of the Pukhtoon Students Federation and Hazara Students Federation and others also joined in the fray. Weapons and hand grenades were used and several offices, classrooms and laboratories were ransacked. Many were injured as a result.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 15th, 2015. 

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