ISLAMABAD: Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Hussain Chaudhry has requested President Arif Alvi to replace interim Comsats University Rector Dr Raheel Qamar who is holding the charge in violation of rules.

The minister, who is pro-chancellor of the university, in a letter dated Dec 5 to President Alvi said delay in the appointment of a permanent rector and continuation of the interim charge beyond the specified period had created many issues besides causing serious legal implications which could be challenged in court.

The minister also proposed three senior faculty members - Prof Dr Mohammad Asif, Mohammad Sohail Ghani and Prof Dr Asad Hussain - for picking one of them for the temporary charge of the rector.

The letter said in March 2017, the position of rector fell vacant. The interim charge was assigned to the senior-most professor Dr Raheel Qamar. It was intended that within the prescribed period of six months, a permanent rector would be in place in accordance with para 15 of Employees Service Statues 2009, which says the interim charge can only be given for six months.

Continuation of interim charge beyond specified period causing legal implications, minister says

The minister said Comsat Institute of Information Technology was upgraded to Comsat University through an act of parliament in March 2017.

The letter said the first meeting of the university senate could not be held until April 2019 and appointment of the full-time rector was kept on delaying for one reason or the other.

“Although the senate formally constituted a search committee for the appointment of the full-time rector it could not finalise its recommendations because of the so-called technical hitches,” the minister observed.

“The extended tenure of the interim rector beyond six months is a serious violation of the statutes,” read the letter, adding during this extended 33 months period, no extension beyond six months was given by any statutory or non-statutory body of the university.

The minister could not be reached for comments.

Academic Staff Association holds protest

The Academic Staff Association (ASA) of Comsats University staged a protest on Monday against ad hocism and decided to observe a black day on Tuesday on all the seven campuses.

The Comsats university, which has seven campuses with over 35, 000 students, has been facing administrative issues for the last many years.

A statement issued by ASA said rallies and protest demonstrations would be arranged on the campuses.

The employees expressed resentment over the conduct of the university management saying it failed to honour an agreement signed between the interim rector and ASA in June 2019.

The statement said despite promulgation of the university Act in April 2018, statutory forums of the university and service structure of the employees were yet to be finalised.

“The university is being run by an ad hoc setup for three years where the rector, registrar, director campuses and deans are holding acting charges,” said the statement.

It alleged that the current ad hoc management had deliberately hindered and delayed implementation of the Act.

The teachers said the processes for the completion of statutory bodies, approval of service structure, approval of minutes of the second university senate meeting, conduct of selection boards, advertisements for faculty positions of all cadres, reinstatement of unlawfully terminated employees and appointment of a permanent rector were yet to be completed.“Forensic, financial and administrative audit of the university since its inception was promised but never conducted. On the other hand, qualified and resourceful faculty is quitting the university just because of mismanagement and bad governance of the ad hoc management,” ASA said, appealing to the president, the prime minister and minister for science and technology to take notice of the issue.

When contacted, acting Registrar Dr Fahim A. Qureshi said the appointment of rector was in the process and after completing legal formalities other posts would also be filled.

Refuting the allegations of the ASA, he said Comsats was upgraded from Comsats Institute of Information Technology to Comsat University and new rules and statues were being framed.

Asked about the rally that took place on Monday at the university, the registrar said if few people staged a protest “one can’t say it a rally.”

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2019