PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman on Wednesday removed Vice-Chancellor of the Bannu University of Science and Technology Prof Abid Ali Shah from service over his ‘immoral’ dance video, which went viral on social media a few months ago.

The higher education department issued a notification for the sacking of the vice chancellor.

The governor, who is also the chancellor of the public sector university, took the action following an inquiry into the video.

The video showed Prof Abid dance with a woman in a room. The social media outrage prompted the governor to form a three-member committee to look into the matter.

The inquiry committee comprised University of Peshawar Vice-Chancellor Prof Mohammad Asif Khan, chairman of the Governor’s Inspection Team Imtiaz Altaf and auqaf and Haj secretary Farrukh Sair.

Prof Abid had refused to quit despite inquiry panel’s advice

The inquiry committee had recommended to the chancellor in its report that Prof Abid be asked to voluntarily resign from the post of the vice chancellor and if he resists or declines to resign, then he should be removed in the ‘public interest’.

According to the notification, the ‘immoral’ video involving Prof Abid created unrest and resentment among students, faculty and general public and thus, putting the provincial government in an embarrassing situation.

It added that the charges against Prof Abid proved.

An opportunity of personal hearing was provided to Prof Abid on Feb 12 at the Governor’s House, Peshawar, where he refused to tender resignation.

“In exercise of the powers conferred upon him (governor) under Section 12(7) of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities Act, 2012, the governor/chancellor of the University of Science and Technology Bannu, is pleased to remove Prof Dr Abid Ali Shah from the post of VC with immediate effect.”

The tenure of Prof Abid was to complete next July.

Section 12(7) of the law states, “The Vice Chancellor shall hold office during the pleasure of the Chancellor; Provided that before removing a Vice-Chancellor from his position, the Chancellor may grant an opportunity of personal hearing to the Vice-Chancellor.”

The vice chancellor was sent on forced leave on Sept 19, 2019, a day after the video went viral on social media.

Sources told Dawn that Prof Abid’s forced leave expired in three months but as the inquiry wasn’t completed, the governor extended it until March 2020.

They said the vice chancellor was sent on forced leave under Section 12(8) of the KP Universities Act, 2012, which declares, “The Chancellor may send the Vice Chancellor on forced leave for ninety (90) days extendable once if the circumstances so demands for reasons to be recorded.”

Prof Abid was not available for comments despite several attempts on his mobile phone.

He has already moved the Peshawar High Court against the higher education department’s Sept 20 notification about his forced leave calling it ‘illegal and based on ulterior motive’.

He also prayed the court to direct the Federal Investigation Agency to remove the ‘fake and edited’ video contents spread through different social media platforms.

The case is pending decision by the court.

Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2020