Tainted Sindh University VC tries to resume office, sent on another forced leave

Published October 16, 2020
Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Fateh Mohammad Burfat arrived at the campus to resume his duties after expiry of his one month’s forced leave in the wake of probe into graft charges against him. — Photo courtesy Sindh University Facebook.
Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Fateh Mohammad Burfat arrived at the campus to resume his duties after expiry of his one month’s forced leave in the wake of probe into graft charges against him. — Photo courtesy Sindh University Facebook.

HYDERABAD: An interesting situation emerged in Sindh University on Thursday when tainted Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Fateh Mohammad Burfat arrived at the campus to resume his duties after expiry of his one month’s forced leave in the wake of probe into graft charges against him.

He submitted his joining report to acting Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Siddique Kalhoro, stating that he was directed to proceed on one month leave from Sept 14, 2020, to Oct 14, 2020, in the wake of an inquiry to be initiated against him with immediate effect as mentioned in the said notification.

“As my leave period is finished today with no fructuous results as the committee cannot even initiate such an inquiry following refusal of one of its members Prof Dr Mohammad Aslam Uqaili to be part of the inquiry committee, therefore I am resuming my office from today i.e., Oct 15 to complete my tenure of vice-chancellorship.”

“Burfat sat in the camp office [residence] while Prof Kalhoro was chairing meetings in the VC office. It was indeed an interesting scene today,” commented an SU official.

Dr Burfat requested Prof Kalhoro, who was also pro-VC of Laar campus, to leave VC’s office and resume his responsibilities as the pro-VC of Laar campus.

In another letter addressed to the SU registrar, he said he had availed one month leave and was now joining duties from Oct 15.

Later, another notification dated Oct 14 was issued by the secretary of universities and boards that the Sindh chief minister had extended period of Prof Dr Siddique Kalhoro as acting VC in addition to his own duties during the leave period of Dr Burfat.

The CM has extended Burfat’s leave for another month “during pendency of the enquiry so that no undue interference is exercised in proceedings of probe till its finalisation”.

Burfat, along with several other accused, are on interim pre-arrest bail over Rs738m financial embezzlement and anomalies in a year during his tenure as VC.

MUET VC to be part of inquiry

It is learnt that Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET) VC Prof Dr Aslam Uqaili would remain part of inquiry against VC Burfat. Two-member inquiry team is headed by Mohammad Waseem, chairman of the Planning and Development Board (P&DB) of the Sindh government.

Mr Uqaili had declined to become part of the inquiry committee on the ground that it would be a conflict of interest as he was also interested in applying for post of SU VC for which the Sindh government had already initiated a process to seek applications. He also cited a host of other reasons for not becoming part of the inquiry team.

But the CM was said to have turned down Uqaili’s request. The inquiry team is now likely to start proceedings against VC Burfat from Friday. The committee would be hearing Mr Burfat in Karachi and a notice requiring him to appear before the committee has been issued.

Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2020

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