KARACHI, July 3: The secretariat of the Sindh governor, serving as the office of the chancellor of all public sector universities in the province, has recently asked all university employees to follow rules and regulations as “any deviation of rules shall be dealt strictly in accordance with the rules”, it emerged on Tuesday.
The unexplained measure has generated a lot of concern among teachers of Karachi University, many of whom got a copy of the letter on Monday. The letter is sent by deputy secretary Moinuddin Siddiqui of the Governor’s House with the subject ‘discipline in universities’.Dated June 18 with the signature of the registrar on June 27, the letter stated that it had been generally observed that some faculty members/employees of the universities proceed on ex-Pakistan leave without obtaining a no-objection certificate or appear in the media issuing their own statements, criticising government policies and defaming their institution or approach courts without exhausting their rights of appeal as required under the rules.
“Any of the above actions on part of the faculty members and other employees tantamount to misconduct/indiscipline. It may be possible that such employees do not know about the required procedures/formalities and implications regarding above activities. You are, therefore, requested to issue necessary instructions to all faculty members and other employees of the university to act according to the relevant rules/regulations for the above issues. They may also be informed that any deviation of rules shall be dealt strictly in accordance with the rules.”
Speaking to Dawn, the presidents of the Karachi University Teachers Society (Kuts) and Sindh University Teachers Association (Suta) condemned the directives from the chancellor’s office, especially those relating to the media, and termed them against the fundamental constitutional rights.
“Every citizen has the freedom to express his or her opinion under the constitution. This is more important in case of the academia which plays a key role in reforming a society,” said Dr Muttahir Ahmed, adding that the teachers’ society was taking up the matter for a discussion in its forthcoming meeting.
Regarding the matter of acquiring an NOC before leaving Pakistan and taking up issues to courts, he said that it had been a longstanding demand of all university teachers of the province that the respective vice chancellors should be authorised to issue the NOC instead of the chancellor as was the practice in rest of the provinces.
“It takes away too much of our time in getting the NOC from the chancellor’s office. We want the procedure to be simplified as being done in other provinces. Our colleagues in the interior of Sindh face more difficulties as they have to come to Karachi for the purpose,” he said.
Prof Ahmed also criticised the recent government decision to sack 11 teachers of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University in Benazirabad and said that the government reaction was regrettable. “It’s also the basic right of every Pakistan to seek justice from courts and the teachers of that university had gone to court to protest over injustice. Appointments must not be based on nepotism as is the case in this particular instance but rather on merit and transparency,” he observed.
Endorsing Prof Ahmed’s point of view, Suta president Dr Azhar Ali Shah and the general secretary of the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (Sindh chapter) said that the chancellor was a ceremonial head of the universities and his job was not institutions’ micromanagement.
“I am not aware whether such a letter is being sent to universities. However, if this is the case, we condemn it strongly. All the universities have their own codes of conducts and statutory bodies to run the institutions. The chancellor’s interference tantamount to negating the role of the syndicate and the academic council,” he said.