23 August, 2014 / Shawwal 26, 1435

The historical Islamia College Peshawar was given the status of a chartered university in 2008. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly (then called NWFP Assembly) passed The Islamia College Peshawar Act 2009 on Jan 20, 2009. Later, the assembly passed The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities Act (KPUA), 2012, on May 11, 2012, and the governor assented to it on May 17 the same year. The Act was published in the official gazette on May 18, 2012.

The KPUA includes a schedule having names of 12 universities, including Islamia College Peshawar, to which this Act is applicable. Following the KPUA’s enactment the earlier Act of 2009 stood repealed. A prominent figure Ajmal Khan was appointed its first vice-chancellor, but the university was unfortunate as Mr Khan was kidnapped by militants from inside the university campus in Sept 2010. Since then two acting and additional vice-chancellors have been appointed for looking after the affairs of the university.

Presently, Dr Ihsan Ali, already serving as vice-chancellor of Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, has been serving as additional VC of the ICP. He was appointed against this post in Feb 2013.

During last around two years the internal wrangling between groups of teachers have increased manifold, which is evident from the growing litigations pending before different courts, including Peshawar High Court. These litigants allege that most of the litigations have emerged because of a controversial meeting of the syndicate of ICP held on May 23, 2012. They believe that after the passage of the KPUA and its publication in the official gazette, the syndicate, constituted under the previous law, was not empowered to take drastic decisions especially related to service matters. They claim that the present university administration convened syndicate meetings on April 17 and 19, 2013, and made some controversial decisions in the light of the decisions taken in the last year’s controversial meeting.

Contrary to their claim the university administration is of the opinion that when the syndicate meeting was held in May 2012 the previous law, and not the KPUA, was applicable to the ICP.

One of the writ petitions was filed by six employees of the university, including dean faculty of physical and numerical sciences, Prof Naeem Khalid; the then chairperson of physics department; the director students affairs Sikander Khan; director works Eng Abid Kamal; director planning and development Syed Farheed Ahmad; and the deputy director P&D Ghayur Ahmad. They challenged the decisions taken in the meetings of the syndicate held on May 23, 2012 and April 17 and 19.

The petitioners claimed that before the controversial meeting of May 23, 2012, the provincial higher education department had informed the then vice-chancellor that as the provincial assembly had passed the new Act, therefore, the proposed meeting should not be held.

The petitioners claimed that soon after the meeting in May 2012 they submitted their representation to the chancellor/governor and the same was forwarded to the secretary higher education department, but the final decision was still awaited. They alleged that adverse decisions taken against these petitioners in the controversial meeting were not acted upon till April 17 and 19 when all decisions were implemented and the petitioners were penalised.

A two-member bench of the court on May 27, 2013, disposed of the petition as the representation of the petitioners was pending, with the direction to the governor/chancellor to decide the grievance of the petitioners in accordance with law within 30 days. Following that order the petitioners have on June 6 sent another representation to the governor.

Another petition filed by Dr Shazia Yasin was also disposed of on June 11 by a two-member bench, directing that her petition should be treated as representation by the governor/chancellor. The petitioner stated that on the recommendation of selection board, the senate of ICP approved her appointment on Feb 9, 2010 as associate professor in BPs-20 and subsequently she was posted as chairperson of physics department. She was relieved from the said post in July 2012 in continuation of decision of the syndicate in the said controversial meeting. Later, she was re-appointed on the said post but was again relieved of the post in the syndicate meeting on April 19 and the vice-chancellor was authorised to look after the affairs of the department of physics. In fact, the litigations continue to surface due no full-time VC as part timers might not deliver properly.

Another important writ petition is filed by Prof Naeem Khalid, challenging certain decisions of the syndicate in his capacity as dean faculty of physical and numerical sciences, including the authorisation of vice-chancellor to look after the physics department.

The petitioner stated that under the relevant statutes in a department where there was no professor, the department should be looked after by dean of the faculty with the assistance of senior-most teachers. In present case, he stated the authorisation given to the VC was illegal as it was the responsibility of the dean. Legal experts dealing with these cases believe that the chancellor/governor should take notice of the affairs of the university otherwise the ongoing differences between teachers’ groups in the absence of a full-time VC would badly affect this prestigious institution.

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