NAWABSHAH: The Peoples University of Medical and Health Sciences for Women’s acting vice chancellor has made 121 appointments to various faculty positions (BPS-17 to 21) in violation of selection criteria, relevant rules and regulations and without waiting for the PMDC to verify degrees and other documents of the candidates before their selection.

A notification issued last week by the university’s registrar Prof Dr Mohammad Saleh Khaskheli said that 102 appointments had been made subject to final approval by syndicate on the basis of recommendations of selection board that met on Oct 5 and 12 and approval of minutes by the acting vice chancellor.

Of the 121, more than 40 appointments were made conditional with production of experience and eligibility certificate, registration certificate, registration of MPhil leading to PhD and no-objection certificate issued by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC).

Interestingly, the selections were not approved by a fully fledged VC but were made by dean of surgery Dr Gulshan Ali Memon who had additional charge of the VC. Dr Memon was given the additional charge on April 18 after Universities and Boards Department discontinued services of Prof Dr Azam Hussain Yousfani. He would hold the charge till the appointment of permanent VC through a search committee.

Dr Memon did not bother to wait for the appointment of a permanent VC and convened meetings of three selection boards within a couple of weeks to select the candidates, most of whom failed to submit required documents and did not have degrees and registration certificates verified by the PMDC.

The appointment of permanent VC hit snags after publication of an advertisement for the post had age limit of 62 years instead of 65 which prompted a few senior faculty members to approach the department concerned and have a corrigendum issued with age limit increased to 65 years.

It was later challenged by Dr Memon and the court granted a stay suspending the corrigendum and directing authorities concerned not to appoint any VC who was above 62 years of age.

The matter was still pending a decision in Sindh High Court.

A number of senior professors told Dawn on condition of anonymity that they had never seen such large-scale selections by an official with additional charge. Such hasty decisions would surely give bad name to the institution and compromise standards, they said.

They questioned the formation of scrutiny committee and said how the candidates had been shortlisted without verification of their degrees, PMDC certificates and other relevant documents.

They argued that in a similar case, Lahore High Court had stopped acting VC of University of Agriculture Faisalabad from working and presiding over syndicate meetings or taking any administrative decision in the presence of a pro VC in the university.

They said the LHC further said that chancellor could only make temporary arrangements for acting VC for performance of duties and only when office of the pro VC was vacant. In another case, decisions on appointments, transfers and financial matters made by acting VC of Arid University were reverted by syndicate meeting chaired by a pro VC, they said.

Registrar Prof Khaskheli defended the selection by saying that as PMDC delayed verification of documents they decided they could not wait for it to fill the vacant positions.

Asked if there was a provision on the basis of which they could bypass basic and mandatory rules, he said that he did not have any information about it but he insisted that an official with additional charge of VC could make appointments to senior positions.

Dr Memon said that he had fulfilled all legal formalities and taken approval of the selection board. The matter would soon be presented in syndicate for final approval, he added.

He said that he personally knew majority of the candidates, so the question of violation of rules and selection without verification of degrees by PMDC did not arise. He had powers to make the appointments, he said.

National Accountability Bureau is already seized with a enquiry into over 300 appointments made during tenure of former VC Prof Yousfani and the present registrar appeared in NAB office a couple of weeks back in this connection.

Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2019