LAHORE: For the first time in its history, the Punjab University syndicate’s meeting was held without six elected faculty representatives on Monday. It was 1,742th meeting of the body.
The tenure of the elected faculty representatives of the syndicate ended in February 2021 and the university administration had announced the election for April 28. As the university was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Syndicate election was cancelled, PU Vice Chancellor Prof Niaz Ahmed formed a three-member committee to look after the election of Syndicate issue.
On Monday, the Syndicate meeting was held at the Vice Chancellor’s Office. The VC presided over the meeting online while Lahore High Court’s Justice Ameer Bhatti, retired Justice Nasira Javed Iqbal, Pro VC Prof Dr Saleem Mazhar and other members participated in the meeting.
The meeting took up various cases of lawyers and a journalist and decided to take assistance of the disciplinary committee in the upcoming meeting for final decision on all the cases. It approved recommendations of the selection board, including appointment of five professors, 13 associate professors, four assistant professors and four lecturers.
PUASA expresses reservations; claims syndicate was incomplete
The syndicate also approved the appointment of one deputy controller, 18 admin officers and two research officers. It also accorded approval to the minutes of its last meeting.
Later, in the evening the Punjab University Academic Staff Association (PUASA) executive council called an emergency online meeting, chaired by its Vice President Dr Azhar Naeem and participated by 11 members.
The PUASA expressed reservation on holding of the syndicate meeting without elected representatives of the teachers as the syndicate was incomplete without representation of six elected members. It claimed that the university administration did not take them into confidence before holding the syndicate meeting.
However, PUASA President Prof Mumtaz Anwar and some other members did not attend the association’s meeting.
Mr Anwar told Dawn the PUASA meeting was not convened with his recommendation but it would be better for the university to hold a syndicate meeting after the election. He said the election was cancelled due to the pandemic as a number of teachers were infected with the virus.
Earlier in the morning, the PUASA executive council members went to meet the VC Prof Ahmad Akhtar to discuss syndicate meeting issues.
PUASA General Secretary Prof Amjad Magsi alleged that the VC had hurled threats of dire consequences at the association members over unknown reasons. He said he did not know why the VC was angry with them and he should not have spoken to the teachers in a harsh language.
A senior official of the university, on condition of anonymity, said the PUASA members, during the meeting, had demanded timescale promotions and the demand was rejected by the VC.
Quoting the VC, he said the Punjab government had withdrawn its letter about timescale promotions and the university could not approve timescale promotions for the teachers. He said the VC had also ordered the teachers reversal of the benefits given to them under timescale promotion.
The PU spokesperson told Dawn the syndicate meeting was convened on the directions of the Lahore High Court chief justice and all legal formalities were fulfilled. He claimed that the syndicate meeting was aimed at discussing degree-related matters of the lawyers and approving appointments and promotions of teachers and employees. He said some elements attempted to sabotage the meeting to avert the appointments and promotions of teachers and employees but the administration stuck to its stance and did not succumb to any pressure. He said the administration itself had resolved the longstanding issues of teachers and employees and no one would be allowed to usurp the rights of others.
Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2021