FAISALABAD: A four-member committee of the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) has found that 543 illegal appointments were made during the tenure of former vice chancellor (VC) Dr Iqrar Ahmed.

At least 52 apprentice clerks were working against one vacant post, the inquiry committee detected.

Dr Ahmed served the UAF for about 10 years and had applied for a third term as well. Following a complaint, UAF VC Dr Muhammad Ashraf constituted a four-member committee on June 3 comprising Dr Zafar Iqbal of the department of parasitology (convener), Faculty of Sciences Dean Dr Muhammad Asghar, Treasurer Muhammad Tariq Saeed and Assistant Registrar Niaz Mohyuddin.

Dr Iqrar Ahmed denies allegations as vengeance by incumbent VC

The first meeting of the committee took place on June 10 in which members perused the record provided by Deputy Registrar (Personnel) Tariq Mehmood and Assistant Registrar Mohyuddin. They asked the registrars to revisit the record and furnish a certificate that nothing had been concealed. The next day, they looked at the record again and identified some missing information, including availability of post, qualification for eligibility and qualification of the appointee etc.

In the third meeting on June 13, the members thrashed the record to ascertain if the appointments indicated in the record were made in accordance with the requirements.

It concluded that 543 appointments were made from time to time on ad hoc, contract, regular basis without advertising them, in contravention of government instructions and court decisions. Majority of the appointments were made even when substantive posts were not available. A glaring example of such illegalities was that at one point 52 apprentice clerks were working against one vacant post. Furthermore, the appointments were made without recommendation and approval of the competent authority.

The committee said 21 employees in BPS 1 to 6 were appointed on ad hoc basis against 20 per cent employee quota without any advertisement, 21 officers appointed in BPS-17 on ad hoc basis without advertising in the media and against apex court decisions, 80 recruited in BPS 1 to 16 on ad hoc. These employees were appointed through a selection committee whereas no provision of such a committee existed in the university statutes.

In the former agriculture college of Dera Ghazi Khan, 17 officials were appointed.

Similarly, 102 of the 188 employees in BPS 1 to 16 were appointed on ad hoc basis without availability of posts. Majority of them were later regularised during 2008 to 2017 either on the request of the applicant or recommendations of the respective director/ head of department/ selection committee.

The inquiry said that 52 school teachers of Laboratory School inside the UAF were appointed on contract without proper advertisement and following due process. It also recommended investigation into how many teachers appointed on contract were relatives of the university employees.

Around a dozen officers were appointed in BPS-17 and above on ad hoc and/or contract without advertisement in the media. Majority of the officers continued their jobs for four to nine years. No service laws for appointment on ad hoc have yet been approved by the chancellor, the inquiry report reads.

Besides, out of the 85 officers employed in BPS-17 or above, some were recruited temporarily without availability of substantive posts in the approved budget. Some ad hoc appointees were later regularised after due process of advertisement, and their un-authorised ad hoc service period was taken into account for the purpose of pensionary benefits, which is not covered under the rules.

The report reads that other appointments were also made by former VC Dr Ahmed and a number of ad hoc appointments were made for six months and further extended from time to time for a period varying from one to nine years. There is no provision in the University Act to appoint a person without advertisement and for more than six months, the report reads.

In his response, Dr Ahmed said that all the four members in the committee were liars and had no legal authority. He said no one in the university had the power to investigate a former VC. He said this inquiry was based on vengeance by the current VC whose appointment he had challenged in the Lahore High Court.

Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2019