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LAHORE: The Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) has asked the provincial government to expedite the process of appointing permanent vice chancellors (VCs) at 15 public sector universities as there is no point in delaying hiring after the recent Lahore High Court verdict.

“We have written to the Punjab Higher Education Department to expedite the appointment of permanent VCs in 15 public sector universities as such institutions are facing issues because of makeshift arrangements (acting VCs),” a senior official of PHEC told Dawn on Tuesday.

“Although the higher education department has initiated the process of appointing permanent VCs at Punjab University (PU), Lahore College for Women University, University of Sargodha and the Nawaz Sharif University of Engineering and Technology, Multan, it has yet to even form search committees to shortlist candidates to head Fatima Jinnah Women University Rawalpindi, Government College University Lahore, University of Education Lahore, Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan, Ghazi University Dera Ghazi Khan, Government Sadiq Degree College Women University Bahawalpur, Khawaja Fareed University of Engineering and Information Technology Rahim Yar Khan,” he said, adding that the department concerned should have at least initiated the process as two weeks had passed since the court’s order.

Higher Education Minister Syed Raza Ali Gilani told Dawn that the Punjab government would appoint permanent VCs at PU, LCWU, Sargodha and Multan universities this month.

“A summary of three shortlisted candidates for each university is being sent to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for final selection,” he added.

Regarding the remaining 11 universities, the minister said: “After appointment of VCs at the four varsities, we will form separate search committees for each remaining varsity for short-listing candidates. On their recommendations, the new VCs will be appointed at the earliest,” Mr Gilani said.

An LHC division bench headed by Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah had, on April 27, directed the provincial government/chancellor to proceed with the appointment of VCs on the basis of recommendations of the search committee by considering a panel of three persons in each university.

The appointment of a permanent VC at PU interests many in the teaching fraternity there. The contest is among Dr Zaffar Mueen Nasir, Muhammad Zakaria Zakar and Dr Mujahid Kamran. Dr Nasir is the incumbent provisional VC and has also been shortlisted for the post in University of Sargodha. Dr Kamran served the previous two terms as VC.

It is said that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif could appoint the new head of PU for a four-year term keeping in view the administrative skills of the candidates.

At the Lahore College for Women University, incumbent Dr Rukhsana Kausar has filed a representation against eligibility of the other shortlisted candidate, Dr Uzma Qureshi, with the higher education department.

Dr Kausar has written to the department to settle the representation before sending a summary to the chief minister. Dr Shahida Hasnain is the third candidate.

For University of Sargodha, Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad and Dr Tahir Kamran were the other candidates besides Dr Zaffar Mueen Nasir of the PU.

At the Nawaz Sharif University of Engineering and Technology, Multan, the search committee had shortlisted Dr Aamir Ijaz, Dr Mohammad Zubair and Dr Shahid Munir.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2017