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PU ex-VC, four others held for corruption

Updated October 12, 2018

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Punjab University. — File Photo
Punjab University. — File Photo

LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday arrested Punjab University ex-vice chancellor Dr Mujahid Kamran and four other former administrative officials over allegations of corruption, illegal appointments and nepotism.

Among the four [arrested] administrative officials are two former registrars Prof Dr Raas Masood and Prof Dr Liaqat Ali and two additional registrars Prof Dr Aurangzaib Alamgir and Prof Dr Kamran Abid.

“Dr Mujahid and four other officials appeared before the NAB team at its Thokar Niaz Beg office and were arrested upon their unsatisfactory replies to allegations against them,” an official source told Dawn.

He said the former VC was questioned about different allegations, especially illegal appointments in the varsity for four hours.

Suspects accused of making illegal appointments, violating procurement rules

The main charge they are facing is 550 illegal appointments, mostly grade 17 and above between 2013 and 2016.

Sources also claimed that most of the jobs were given on a contract basis and no selection rules were followed and the contracts were renewed.

Dr Mujahid was also accused of illegally appointing his second wife Dr Shazia Qureshi as principal of the Punjab University Law College (PULC). “The suspect had also awarded scholarships to favourite students and was involved in award of contract in violation of procurement rules,” the source said.

The NAB will produce them before an accountability court for their physical remand for further investigation on Friday (today).

Dr Mujahid is currently working as rector of the University of Lahore and remained the PU vice chancellor from January 2008 to December 2016. He also served as chairman of the Physics Department at PU from 1995 to 2001, as the dean of Faculty of Sciences from 2001 to 2007. He had joined the university as a lecturer in 1972.

A varsity official on condition of anonymity said the contracts of those appointed illegally during Dr Mujahid’s tenure should be reviewed.

However, a university spokesman said around 200 employees’ contracts who were appointed during Dr Mujahid tenure ended in June last and were not extended further.

He said around 30 of them were teachers who got regular appointments in the university and the remaining employees managed to get stay order from the court for further contract but the posts would be advertised soon.

Meanwhile, the Punjab University Academic Staff Association (PUASA) held an emergency meeting and condemned the arrest of the former VC and other professors.

PUASA General Secretary Dr Asghar Iqbal said the NAB officials had disrespectfully arrested the professors and it would not be acceptable to the teaching community to humiliate them.

He said they would launch a protest drive against the ‘unlawful’ arrest of the professors.

The NAB had also arrested six officials of the University of Sargodha (UoS), including its former VC Muhammad Akram, registrar Rao Jameel, chief executive of Mandi Bahauddin campus Waris and his partner Naeem in illegal campuses case.

The suspects were involved in minting millions from students by establishing campuses.

However, neither the examinations were conducted nor they were issued degrees. The affected students had time and again staged protests against the university administration.

Following the protests, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had taken notice of the issue and referred the case to the NAB Lahore director general.

A source claimed that the suspects were involved in corruption and a committee was formed to evolve an alternative for the students so that their future could be saved.

He said investigations revealed that the suspects were involved in looting millions for the establishment of illegal campuses.

They were being investigated after an accountability court on Wednesday handed them over to the bureau on a 10-day physical remand.

Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2018