A day after being arrested and accused of stripping parents and medical students of more than Rs550 million, a sitting and a former vice chancellor were sent to Central Prison Peshawar along with two other educationists.
Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan (AWKUM) VC Dr Ihsan Ali, former Hazara University VC Professor Dr Syed Sakhawat Shah, NIMS College of Medicine Abbottabad Chairman Dr Muhammad Aziz Khan and Higher Education Regulatory Authority (HERA) ex-chairman Professor Humayun Zia were produced before an accountability court of judge Muhammad Ibrahim Khan. Ali has also held the post of Hazara University VC.
NAB prosecutors told the court Syed Sakhawat Shah was a retired vice chancellor and an elderly individual. The court was also told NAB did not require the physical custody of the four suspects as the corruption reference against them needed the approval of the bureau’s chairman after which it would be submitted to the accountability court.
Azhar Yousaf and Manzoor Khan, counsel for the accused, requested the court to grant Class-B accommodation to the accused at the central prison. The court accepted the plea and remanded the suspects on judicial remand for 14 days instead of NAB’s custody. A large number of students were also present at the hearing to support the VCs.
A NAB statement said the former Hazara University VCs, Ali and Dr Sakhawat Shah, without a mandate enshrined in the KMU Act 2006, granted affiliation to the National Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) Abbottabad which lacked medical faculty. It added the former VCs also conducted examinations at the “illegal” institute.
“They [connived] with the illegal medical college – not only depriving parents of their hard-earned money, but also playing with the future of unsuspecting students,” the statement read.
It was discovered that NIMS Chairman Dr Muhammad Aziz Khan willingly engaged in the illegal business for monetary gains by admitting students without a lawful mandate prior to the institute’s recognition as envisaged in the PM&DC Ordinance 1962. The bureau also accused Humayun Zia of illegally registering NIMS by overlooking required criteria. The bureau’s statement added the official also failed to pay regulatory visits.
Teachers slam arrests
Teachers associations of different public sector universities as well as faculty members of AWKUM slammed the arrest of Ali and demanded an end to “the insult ‘.
Talking to The Express Tribune, former Peshawar University Teachers Association president Jamil Khan said anti-education elements did not want the people of the province to develop. He said the education system was being “wiped out through devious plans”. Khan demanded all parties in the province raise a voice against these practices and halt the arrest of educationists.
He said PUTA called for a meeting of all university teachers to discuss their next move against the arrest of the AWKUM VC.
Senior management and faculty members of AWKUM expressed their disappointment over the arrest and held an emergency meeting on Wednesday.
“The arrest of a sitting VC is astonishing and unprecedented,” said a statement issued after the meeting. “The NAB action has hurt the reputation of K-P’s most modern and credible university,” it continued.
“Dr Ihsan Ali represents an academic institution where thousands of students, staff and faculty work and study. His arrest is an attack on the goodwill of AWKUM.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2015.