KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has given the last chance to the provincial authorities to reconstitute the search committee and process the appointment of a permanent vice chancellor of Karachi University (KU) within two weeks.

Led by Justice Aftab Ahmed Gorar, a two-judge bench warned that no further time would be granted to the respondents for complete compliance of its earlier order.

The lawyer for the secretary of the universities & boards filed a compliance report when the bench took up applications seeking contempt proceedings against the secretary, Prof Dr Khalid Iraqi and KU registrar for not complying with the court’s Jan 26 order regarding appointment of a new acting VC and constitution of a new search committee,

No further time would be granted for implementation of Jan 26 order, rules SHC

He submitted that a list of 10 senior professors was called from the KU and after getting proper approval from the competent authority — the Sindh chief minister — senior most professor Dr Nasira Khatoon, dean faculty of science, had been appointed as acting KU VC.

About the reconstitution of the search committee to process appointment of a permanent VC, a provincial law officer submitted that the Search Committee Bill 2022 had been passed by the Sindh Assembly and it was expected to be enacted within the shortest period and thereafter the search committee would be reconstituted.

“Prima facie, the respondents have not complied with the order of Jan 26 and still the search committee has not been reconstituted to process the appointment of VC of the respondent university,” the bench in its order observed.

“As an indulgence and the last chance, the competent authority is directed to reconstitute the search committee and process the appointment for the post of vice-chancellor of the University of Karachi in the light of the ratio of the order dated 26.01.2022, within two weeks positively and no further time shall be granted,” it concluded.

On Jan 26, the bench had directed the respondents to reconstitute the search committee for the appointment of KU VC within two months and complete the process of interviews of all candidates afresh at the earliest.

It had also ordered that after the reconstitution, the search committee must send the copies of the original academic certificates /degrees / publications of the petitioners and other candidates to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for verification. It asked the HEC to file a report to the search committee after verifying the same in one month for further proceedings.

After noticing serious allegations levelled against then acting VC Dr Iraqi, who had been holding the charge since 2019, the bench had also directed the KU to forward the names of 10 senior professors of the university in accordance with its seniority list to the chief minister so that he could nominate the most senior professor in BPS-22 as acting VC in the intervening period.

The bench had passed the order while disposing of a set of petitions filed by a number of professors and academics challenging the procedure for appointment of the KU VC.

Published in Dawn, March 9th, 2022

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