ISLAMABAD, Sept 8: The International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) has been running on an ad hoc basis for the last four months without a full-time rector and president.
Sources told Dawn that the government was waiting for a green signal from a foreign country’s ambassador in Islamabad for filling of the posts in the institution.
It may be noted that on May 12, 2012, the then rector Prof Fateh Mohammad Malik was sent on vacations for an indefinite period and the charge of the university was handed over to the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) Vice Chancellor Dr Masoom Yasinzai. On the other hand, the president of the IIUI, Dr Anwar Hussain Saddiqui, retired in December 2010, but still his replacement has not been made.
According to sources, in absence of the two key officials, the university has become almost dysfunctional. A faculty member of the university requesting not to be identified said acting rector Dr Masoom Yasinzai was already preoccupied with handling his own institution having around 10,000 students. He said the IIUI had over 20,000 students, so the QAU vice chancellor cannot handle the affairs of both the universities simultaneously.
“Politics at the IIUI is also increasing. During the last three months, two deans - Dr Sohail of the international relations and Dr Riaz of the quality control department - left the university. The dean of business sciences department, Dr Irfan, had to quit the post because of politics,” he said.
“Now a group of faculty members is also trying to force Dr Bashir of the MBA department to leave as according to them he is also teaching at the Iqra University. However, it is a fact that most of the faculty members belonging to this group are also teaching in different institutes,” he said.
“This particular group is also trying to force Dr Najeeb Jamal, the dean of the faculty of languages, to leave the university. In the absence of a full-time rector and president, there is no one to decide what is right and what is wrong,” he observed.
According to sources, the post of president at the IIUI was advertised by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in February 2012. More than 50 candidates applied for the post. It was first time that at least a criterion was adopted for evaluation of the applications.
The top 10 applicants were called for interviews scheduled on April 9. However, the interviews were called off because of some high level intervention and rescheduled for April 23 and on that day nine candidates appeared before the board. The interviewing panel comprised Chairman HEC Dr Javed Leghari, the then Rector IIUI Dr Fateh Mohammad Malik and ex-secretary Foreign Affairs Riaz Khokhar.
It is reliably learnt that the panel could not agree on any of the candidates for inclusion in the list to be sent to the president of Pakistan. The chairman HEC was in favour of one of the former HEC members Dr Muhktar, who is currently with OIC/ICESCO. However, Dr Malik did not agree on his name as he did not have an impressive administrative experience. Dr Malik was in favour of Dr Mohammad Mumtaz who is currently the acting president of IIUI. But Dr Leghari did not agree on his name. Later, HEC tried to hold another round of interviews to push its favourite candidates. However, before proceeding on leave, Dr Malik had already submitted the names of the candidates to the president, decision on which is still pending, said the sources.In that panel, the name of Prof Dr Hafiz Mohammad Iqbal was also included. Dr Iqbal has a very strong administrative and research experience. But his name could not be approved because of lack of political support, according to the sources.
Meanwhile, it has been learnt that the ambassador of the foreign country has proposed the name of a foreigner, Dr Darvesh, for the post of the president, and he is expected to join the IIUI next week.
However, some teachers privy to the development expressed the fear that the appointment of the foreign national would disturb the environment of the institution because of lack of easy and free communication with the academic staff.
They cited the example of the appointment of a foreign national as president of IIUI in the past, who used to spend much of his time in his home country.
The IIUI was established in collaboration with other Islamic countries to develop social sciences within Islamic perspective. Unfortunately, despite being one of the largest universities in the country, the IIUI could not develop properly because of the prevailing social and political culture within the institution.
The IIUI faculty and other officials familiar with the issue are concerned about the appointment of the foreigner because he was not even the applicant for the slot.
IIUI spokesman Hairan Khattak said he had heard that a full-time rector and president would be appointed soon. He claimed that the management had resolved issues of the university.
Executive Director HEC Dr Sohail Naqvi, while talking to Dawn, said according to his understanding the appointments were at the final stage of approval at the presidency.