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HYDERABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has declared the promotion given to Dr Arfana Mallah, president of the Sindh University Teachers Association (Suta), and appointment of a faculty member to be in violation of HEC criteria.

The commission made the observation in a Jan 28 letter which was in response to a complaint filed by former Suta president Dr Azhar Shah, who termed Dr Mallah’s promotion to BS-21 as illegal, saying she lacked the required experience. Sindh University had sent a letter to HEC on Jan 8 in the backdrop of Dr Shah’s complaint.

The other SU teacher whose appointment was declared to be in violation of the criteria is Dr Ambreen Zaib Khaskhelly.

Dr Mallah’s promotion was allowed by a selection board after Dr Abida Tahirani took over as vice chancellor.

“The university cannot relax criteria prescribed by the HEC but may make it further stringent.

Therefore, appointment on the basis of said experiences of above mentioned faculty members will be considered to be a violation of HEC criteria,” read the HEC letter.

Sixteen teachers, including the then Suta president, Dr Ayaz Keerio and other faculty members, had filed a joint appeal, demanding the VC cancel Dr Mallah’s application for the post of professor before the selection board’s meeting, which, however, allowed it in July last year.

Dr Mallah, in an email to Dawn on Wednesday, condemned Dr Azhar Shah’s move and termed the letter he released to media on Tuesday ‘self-contradictory’. She insisted the then syndicate had appointed her professor on the recommendation of the selection board.

She rejected the HEC’s letter for having reproduced allegations of Dr Shah as an observation and the Jan 28 letter was fabricated. The SU did not violate the statues approved by the senate and HEC guidelines, she said.

Dr Mallah and Dr Shah had been part of Suta from 2011 to 2014, wining posts of president and secretary after fighting polls from rival groups.

They were quite active in Suta-led agitation against Prof Bashir Channar’s murder, which paralysed academic activities in the university.

Dr Shah charged that Dr Mallah got favours for her and her close associates following the post-murder agitation. “This illegal promotion is one of the favours she has received amid manipulation by the SU administration,” he alleged.

Published in Dawn, February 11th, 2016