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PESHAWAR: The higher education department has decided to look into the irregularities in the administrative and academic affairs of the Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan.

The formation of an inquiry committee on the matter is awaiting the chief minister’s formal nod, say officials in the know.

They told Dawn that a summary seeking permission for the committee’s formation was sent to the chief minister before Eidul Fitr.

The development comes in light of the recommendation of the joint investigation team, which probed the lynching of AWKUM student Mashal Khan, 23, on campus by a mob over the alleged blasphemy in April this year.

Education dept sends summary on inquiry panel formation to CM for approval

Adviser to the chief minister on HED Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani had also ordered the inquiry committee’s formation.

The officials said the HED had proposed its additional secretary Dr Khalid Khan, Mardan commissioner Zakir Hussain Afridi and Agriculture University Peshawar vice-chancellor Prof Zahoor Ahmad Swati as the members of the inquiry panel.

They said after its approval by the chief minister, the summary would be forwarded to KP Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, who was the chancellor of the public sector universities in the province, for approval and thus, formally ordering the probe.

“Under the law, the consent of the chancellor (governor) is necessary for probing any issue in a university,” an official said.

He added that the governor was bound by the law to accept the advice of the chief minister regarding the universities.

“The governor can only return the summary and that, too, once,” he said.

The officials said the inquiry committee would look into the alleged violations of rules during the appointment of employees to the AWKUM and other administrative and academic failures, which led to the Mashal lynching incident.

They said the committee would formally begin its work after the notification of its formation by the HED.

The officials said though no timeframe had been fixed for it to complete inquiry, the committee was likely to take from one month to 40 days to do the task and furnish report.

The National Accountability Bureau has already conducted investigation into a large number of illegal appointments to the AWKUM during the tenure of former VC Ihsan Ali.

It filed a reference against the former VC in that respect with an accountability court last year. Hearing into it has been under way since.

Besides absolving Mashal of the blasphemy charge, the JIT in its report had also held some AWKUM staff members, fellow students and outsiders responsible for his killing.

It had also recommended that the academic qualifications and character of all university employees and the procedure of their appointment be verified through the relevant provincial and federal institutions.

The JIT had also revealed that many university employees, who were appointed on political basis, had a criminal record.

When contacted, advisor to the CM Mushtaq Ghani said the proposed committee would probe investigation into the violation of the relevant rules during the recruitment of teaching and non-teaching staff at the university.

He said the inquiry panel would look into how the VC appointed the employees of his choice to the university and why the Mashal Khan lynching incident occurred.

The adviser said the HED had initiated the process of the removal of the AWKUM VC a year ago over massive administrative irregularities but the latter stayed put through stay orders until the completion of his tenure a few months ago.

“Our department has taken the administrative and academic issues at the Mardan university seriously and will meticulously probe everything,” he said.

Published in Dawn, June 30th, 2017