• Justice Isa seeks BoT meeting; says rector, other officials remiss of stipulated duties
• Dr Mukhtar demands BoG meeting; complains rector not available for meeting despite reminders

ISLAMABAD: In a major development, Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed and Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa in separate letters pointed out bad governance at the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) and demanded prompt meetings of university’s board of trustee (BoT) and board of governors (BoG).

In a letter addressed to Rector Prof Dr Samina Malik, the HEC chairman advised the rector to “furnish report/comments by February 29 on the issue listed above and to forthwith call a meeting of BoG, failing which HEC would be compelled to formally call for a review of your performance as the IIUI rector”.

Dr Mukhtar Ahmed stated that the university over the past few months had been grappling with a governance crisis.

“The crisis has wide-ranging manifestations, from financial and administrative issues to violation of statutory provisions with regard to meetings and subsequent implementation of the decisions taken therein, of the statutory bodies of the university,” read the letter.

The HEC chairman pointed out that the minutes of the 15th meeting of BoT, which was held on December 11, 2023 after a gap of three-and-a-half years, have not been finalised despite a lapse of two months. He also highlighted that the BoT in a previous meeting held in June 2020 had decided to frame and finalise the rules for the appointment of the IIUI president with the help of HEC through the board of governors of the university, but to date, no significant progress had been made in this regard.

“The matter is of paramount importance also because the four-year term of the incumbent president is set to expire on July 16, 2024,” he said.

The HEC chief also stated that a meeting of the BoG should be held after every three months but the university has not been able to hold such a meeting during the last five months.

“As reported, the considerable influence of a junior officer and his undue involvement in the university’s affairs has resulted in highly controversial decisions shrouded in favouritism and cemented mistrust among the university’s leadership, faculty and its administration,” read the letter.

He also pointed out harassment on the campus. “Few female faculty members have also complained of facing harassment at the workplace which you[Rector] had also confirmed in the last BoT meeting- with the gravity of the grievance being so severe that FIRs have been lodged against a few junior as well senior officers of the university – leading to a tarnishing image of the institute. Moreover, he said that circulation of such news has also adversely reflected upon the admissions in the spring session.”

He also highlighted that his efforts to hold a meeting on the governance issue with the IIUI management had also remained unsuccessful.

In his letter, he said that to find a solution he scheduled a meeting with the rector and others for February 2. “However, despite constant pursuance over several telephonic calls, you opted not to attend the meeting, citing migraine and high blood pressure issues. Later the same meeting was rescheduled for Feb 6, but the rector’s office informed via email that you had other pre-scheduled meetings and hence would not be able to attend the meeting.

The chairman said that according to IIUI Ordinance 1985, the rector shall exercise general control and supervision over the affairs of the university, but “you were unable to satisfactorily respond to queries raised by the BoT in its 15th meeting held on December 15, 2023, and have failed to implement its directives”.

Letter to Alvi

Board of Trustees (BoT) member Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa also wrote a letter to President Arif Alvi, who is the chancellor of the IIUI.

He complained the minutes of the BoT meeting held in December last year were still awaited despite a lapse “of 72 days”.

“The systematic destruction of the university was noted in the said meeting of BoT. However, rather than redressing the concerns…and implementing the decisions that were taken, they are being thwarted by the paid employees of the university.”

The CJP also pointed out that the BoG meeting was also not held.

“The rector and some employees of the university are remiss of their stipulated duties.

“Therefore, it may be appropriate to call an urgent meeting of the Board [BoT] to consider whether the delinquent employees should be substituted by those who want to serve the interest of the university and its students, instead of their own,” the CJP suggested in his letter, which was shared with all the board members.

IIUI spokesperson Nasir Farid, however, defended the performance of the rector. Asked about the said two letters, he said: “At this moment, passing any comments is inappropriate.”

Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2024

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