FAISALABAD: The University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, could not take up important issues like time-scale promotion of BPS faculty, upgrade of lower staff, annual increments to faculty and extension of faculty on tenure track system in its syndicate meeting on March 30 as its three members walked out on the ground that the acting vice-chancellor was not authorised to convene the meeting.

Through a letter, the four members -- MPA Ali Akhtar, Dr Sajjad Khan, Dr Ijaz Bhatti and Misbah Ijaz (latter three are faculty members of the UAF), sent a letter to acting VC Dr Zafar Iqbal on March 29, questioning convening of the syndicate meeting.According to them, Dr Iqbal’s appointment as pro-vice chancellor (PVC) was suspended on Dec 24 last by the Lahore High Court. Later, the Supreme Court allowed him to continue as PVC and directed the high court to decide the case as early as possible. The next hearing of the case is today (Tuesday).

The LHC had ruled on March 13 last that the government shall appoint a regular VC within 15 days of the release of certified copy of the judgment. As such the deadline started on March 21.

“In the same judgement, all petitioners were Fined Rs50,000 each and your (VC) name is clearly mentioned in the decision. We have good reasons to believe that you will float agenda items on the table -- which can have lasting consequences for the sanctity of this university. The syndicate decisions taken earlier with you in chair are also questionable. Your current actions are bound to create unrest for the future regular administration of this university and for the government at large,” the letter of syndicate members reads. Commenting on the situation, Academic Staff Association President Aamir Jameel termed it a worst example of caste-based bias when four members of a clan tried to sabotage the syndicate meeting on March 30. He said the syndicate members gave some baseless points to postpone the meeting.

“These four members had earlier tried to get stay order against the meeting from the LHC but failed.”

During the meeting, he said they walked out to break quorum however, a member from the Punjab government joined the meeting before it was adjourned.

He said staff and faculty were very much perturbed as important agenda items could not be taken up. He claimed that main factor behind all this was former VC Dr Iqrar Ahmed.

Responding, Dr Ahmed said there was no limit to lies. “Unfortunately the so-called ASA is biased and party to the destruction of this university.”

He said the ASA president had filed petition to block the appointment of regular VC and university was suffering under an ‘illegal’ PVC.

Dawn contacted the four syndicate members for their version but they remained silent.

Published in Dawn, April 09th, 2019