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LAHORE: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) on Friday sought a report from the Punjab University’s administration for sacking 41 contractual professors without serving them any notice.

The HEC, Pakistan, took action after the Pakistan Academy of Science expressed concerns over the VC’s decision, requesting the commission to intervene in the matter since a majority of the terminated professors were engaged in various research projects.

The PU’s administration, according to sources, removed the professors in two separate orders during the last three days.

The first termination order issued by the PU admin contained the names of 36 professors and the second carried names of five others. Both the orders were issued within last three days.

HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmad said the matter was being taken up by the commission’s quality assurance department with the PU administration.

“We came to know about it after I received an email from the Pakistan Academy of Science. I sent the same to the quality assurance section of the HEC to seek comments/report from the PU,” Dr Ahmad told Dawn.

PU VC defends action, says hiring was made on political grounds

“It is a major step and we will see why it was necessary. I have also seen names of very experienced professors in the list of those removed from service,” he added.

Official sources in the PU termed the removed professors very important in view of the ongoing research.

“Before removing such a big number of professors, the present university admin should have assessed the negative impact of such an action on the ongoing research work and PhD students,” said a senior official who requested anonymity.

“It is really humiliating for the senior professors (contractual employees) to be asked to get one-month salary in advance and not to come to the university the next day,” the official said. PU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Zafar Mueen Nasir defended his decision, saying whatever he had done was in the best interest of the varsity and its students. He said a majority of professors appeared to be no more useful for imparting qualitative education to the students.

“They were reemployed on political grounds and it was necessary to take such an action (against them),” Dr Nasir told Dawn on Friday.

“If we keep reemploying the retired people, how the young and talented people will enter the education sector? Our action has created jobs for several young and talented teachers who want to teach in the PU,” Dr Nasir explained. However, he said, he would welcome those among the terminated professors who would prove their productivity.

“I have already started an audit of all faculty members. If we find any of them wasting time and energy and producing nothing, he/she would be no more in the university,” he added.

Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2017