ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) said on Wednesday that it has nothing to do with the rejection of promotions and appointments of faculty at the Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU), whose cases were turned down by the varsity’s own syndicate.

The 167th QAU syndicate meeting– the supreme decision making body was held here at the university on April 12.

QAU faculty members, under the Academic Staff Association (ASA), have accused HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed – who by virtue of his position is a member of the QAU syndicate – of purposefully bulldozing proceedings and the syndicate in attempt to implement his decisions and reject some promotion and appointment cases.

The ASA has also written to the HEC chairperson saying he “bulldozed” the syndicate’s proceedings.

Apparently in response to this letter, the HEC on Wednesday stated in a press release that the syndicate annulled the appointment of some faculty members because the approved criteria for the appointment of teachers on the tenure track system had been violated. Following the syndicate’s decision, the ASA – whose president Dr Asif Ali’s case was also rejected – declared its decision “illegal’.

The ASA wrote to the HEC chairman: “Decisions taken in the syndicate meeting are absolutely illegal and are not only a brutal example of transgression into the institutional autonomy of top ranked university, but also a case of wilful abuse of authority by an ordinary member of the QAU syndicate by virtue of his position as HEC chairman.”

However, sources said that during the meeting, QAU Vice Chancellor Dr Javed Ashraf could not defend decisions made by the university on promotions and appointments of some faculty members.

The HEC’s statement also stated that although notifications had said that appointments would be effective subject to endorsement by the commission, the university made the appointments in anticipation without waiting for endorsement.

It said the evaluation of these cases by the commission revealed that they did not qualify for these appointments, which was communicated to the university.

“Discussion during the syndicate meeting revealed that, though well aware of the fact that relevant faculty members did not qualify for appointment, the university deliberately recommended the cases in [a] previous meeting of the syndicate and managed approval of these cases,” the HEC said.

Citing illegal promotions and appointments, the commission said an assistant professor – Dr Chaudhry Waheed – was appointed associate professor even though he had only published one research paper in an HEC-recognised research journal, even though 10 are required.

Another associate professor was appointed after two years of service on the tenure track, against a minimum requirement of four years.

Sources said the matter was provoked when Dr Waheed was sitting in on the syndicate meeting, during which Dr Ahmed said he could not be a member of the syndicate or an associate professor on the tenure track until he meets the minimum requirement of publishing 10 articles. Following this, the ASA called a meeting to discuss the “derogatory attitude” of the HEC chairman.

When contacted, Vice Chancellor Dr Ashraf refused to comment on the HEC’s statement.

Speaking to Dawn, ASA President Dr Ali rejected the syndicate’s decision and accused the commission chairman of overstepping his powers.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2016