KARACHI: The search committee notified by the provincial government on March 25 on the orders of Sindh High Court (SHC) passed in January for the appointment of permanent vice chancellor of Karachi University (KU) saw its first meeting on Thursday with five members in attendance.
As per the Jan 26 SHC order, the Sindh government was required 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.
“This period has already been completed on March 26. The delay on part of the government indicates how serious it is in the matter. The university has been waiting for the appointment of a permanent vice chancellor for almost three years now,” said an official associated with the appointment process.
Sources said one of the search committee members, secretary-college education, was not present in Thursday’s meeting chaired by Sindh Higher Education Commission chairman Dr Tariq Rafi, while another member, Prof Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui, a former KU vice chancellor, declined to be part of the committee.
Prof Pirzada Qasim recuses himself from committee
They said Dr Pirzada Qasim informed the members that since his nephew was also aspiring for the post of KU vice chancellor, it’s not justified on his part to become part of the appointment process.
The sources said that only the chief minister had the powers to nominate another member for the search committee under the new Search Committee Act 2022.
The meeting, the sources said, decided that the SHC order would be strictly followed in the appointment process and the first step would be to send copies of the original academic certificates, degrees and publications of the candidates to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for verification.
Earlier, the nomination of Dr Pirzada Qasim in the KU search committee was questioned by some candidates on the grounds of conflict of interest as he had served as the vice chancellor of KU.
The university has been waiting for the appointment of a regular VC since May 2019 following the death of Prof Dr Mohammad Ajmal Khan. The government appointed Prof Khalid Iraqi as its acting vice chancellor.
His appointment was very much against the principles of merit and court rulings under which the senior most university professor should be given the top slot in the interim period till the government made a regular appointment. Prof Iraqi was at 27th number on the seniority list at that time.
In June 2019, the government advertised the vacant post of vice chancellor, but, later issued a corrigendum in which the criteria relating to experience, research work and age was changed, apparently to benefit a few candidates.
The government had to revert to the old eligibility criteria on the orders of the court, which directed it to consider all applicants for the post.
Earlier, the government removed Prof Iraqi on court orders and appointed senior most professor Dr Nasira Khatoon as the acting VC.
On March 8, the SHC had given the last chance to the provincial authorities to reconstitute the search committee and process the appointment of a permanent vice chancellor at KU within two weeks.
Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2022