HYDERABAD, April 5: Teachers and employees of Sindh University, QUEST and Shah Abdul Latif University held demonstrations in Hyderabad, Nawabshah and Khairpur respectively in protest against termination of a professor by the vice-chancellor of the nascent Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University.
The call for protest was given the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Associations, Sindh chapter.
In Hyderabad, members of the Sindh University Teachers Association (SUTA) and Sindh University Employees Welfare Association took out a procession from the Sindh University Old Campus to the press club.
A large number of political activists, representatives of Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association, Mehran University Teachers Association, Women Action Forum, Sindh Taraqqi Pasand Party, Awami Jamhoori Party and others also participated in the protest.
Addressing the demonstrators, Dr Arfana Mallah and Dr Azhar Ali Shah said that SUTA had organised an open dialogue on “Sindh University Crises: the way ahead” on March 27, which came up a set of demands and called for their immediate implementation to pull the University of Sindh out of crises.
The demands, they said, included revision of Sindh University Charter, probe into murder cases, immediate termination of Dr Nazir Mughal as vice- chancellor and appointment of an eminent academician as VC, restoration of student unions, de-weaponization and withdrawal of police and Rangers from the campus.
They said the day SUTA held the open dialogue Prof Anwar Mangrio, President of Teachers Association of SBBU, Nawabshah, filed a petition in Sindh High Court’s Hyderabad circuit bench, challenging the appointment of Mr Arshad Saleem Arain as VC of the SBBU.
They said that as per his credentials, Mr Arain was a non-academician, non-experienced and non-qualified person who had been installed as VC by the ruling coalition without following any procedure.
They said that executive director of Higher Education Commission Dr Sohail Naqvi had publicly rejected his appointment and warned that HEC would not recognise degrees issued by the university if Mr Arain was not removed.
Dr Mallah and Dr Shah expressed surprise that instead of removing Mr Arain, the syndicate of the university which was dominated by MPAs, MNAs and relatives of leaders of ruling party, decided to terminate services of the president of teachers association who had filed the petition against the VC.
They urged the government to remove the incumbent vice-chancellor of SBBU and reinstate Prof Mangrio.
In Nawabshah, members of the federation took out a procession and held a demonstration. Activists of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, its student’s wing, members of QUEST Teachers Association and SPLA also joined the protest.
The leaders said that Prof Mangrio had been victimised for challenging the eligibility of VC. They warned if the professor was not reinstated they would enlarge their protest.
Meanwhile, the SBBU VC said in a press statement issued on Wednesday that Mr Mangrio had not been terminated but he had been repatriated to his parent department as per March 24 decision of the syndicate.
In Khairpur, members of the Shah Abdul Latif University Teachers Society led by its president Prof Noor Shah Bukhari held a demonstration outside the press club here on Thursday to express solidarity with SBBU teachers.
Talking to reporters, Dr Shah condemned removal of Prof Mangrio and said that retired and incompetent vice-chancellors had destroyed educational institutions.
They appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take suo motu notice of the situation at SBBU and save educational institutions of Sindh.
They demanded that Dr Nazir Mughal should also be dismissed and a new in-service vice-chancellor be appointed in Sindh University purely on the basis of merit.