Bannu university VC sent on forced leave over dance video

Updated September 20, 2019

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The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Thursday sent the vice-chancellor of Bannu University of Science and Technology, Prof Syed Abid Ali Shah, on forced leave following a leaked dance video, purported to be of the academic, went viral on social media a day earlier. — Creative Commons/File
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Thursday sent the vice-chancellor of Bannu University of Science and Technology, Prof Syed Abid Ali Shah, on forced leave following a leaked dance video, purported to be of the academic, went viral on social media a day earlier. — Creative Commons/File

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Thursday sent the vice-chancellor of Bannu University of Science and Technology, Prof Syed Abid Ali Shah, on forced leave following a leaked dance video, purported to be of the academic, went viral on social media a day earlier.

Earlier on Wednesday, a video purportedly of the professor dancing along with a female inside a room was widely shared on social media platforms and WhatsApp groups. A statement issued from the Governor’s House said that KP Governor Shah Farman replaced the vice-chancellor, Dr Syed Abid Ali Shah, and assigned his responsibilities to the pro vice-chancellor, Sultan Mahmood.

It said that the governor also formed a three-member committee to probe the matter. The committee will present its report to the governor within 10 working days. The committee is consisted of University of Peshawar Vice-chancellor Prof Mohammad Asif Khan, Provincial Inspection Team Chairman Akbar Khan and another official identified as Raza Shah.

Committee formed to probe matter within 10 working days

Prof Abid himself was not available for comments and the university administration has not put out its version so far. An official said that the vice-chancellor was of contact.

However, a formal notification is yet to be approved in this regard. Sources in higher education department told Dawn that they had sent a summary in that regard to the Governor’s House but yet to receive its signed version.

A source said that forced leave was a kind of suspension.

He said that at that point the man in the video looked like the professor, however, they would conduct a forensic analysis of it to be sure and also a committee would investigate the video leak.

Dr Abid still has about nine months of his tenure remaining.

Sources said that the vice-chancellor was sent on forced leave under section 12(7) (8) of KP Universities Act 2012, which laid down procedure for the removal of the VC.

Section 12(7) states that the VC will hold office during the pleasure of chancellor provided that before removing a VC from his position, the chancellor (governor) may grant an opportunity of personal hearing to the VC while section 12(8) says that the chancellor may sent the VC on forced leave for 90 days extendable once if circumstances so demand for reasons to be recorded.

Also students of some of the departments of Bannu University staged a protest against the leaked video. The protest was arranged by the Voice of Students Society and it was attended by a large number of students. The students boycotted classes and stopped some of the classes that were in progress.

The protesters also shut down the Institute of Management Sciences and demanded resignation of the vice-chancellor. They said that it was below the dignity of VC office as shown in the purported video.

The protesters demanded his immediate resignation and appointment of a new head of the university, saying that otherwise they would not allow the institution to run.

Abdul Salam contributed to this report from Bannu.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2019