PESHAWAR: A committee formed by the higher education department has recommended the immediate removal of University of Malakand’s chief proctor Prof Aziz Khan and provost Dr Janus Khan from their administrative positions over the controversial nighttime expulsion of Musa Khan, a journalism student, from the hostel for possessing rabab, a musical instrument.

It asked the university administration to convene a syndicate meeting to initiate disciplinary action against the chief proctor and provost over the student’s expulsion, which was followed by his death in a road accident.

The HED formed the committee to investigate the matter following outrage from members of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and social media platforms.

The committee also recommended to the vice-chancellor to “improve vigilance and increase interaction with students and select a specific day on a monthly basis to listen to their problems.”

Asks Malakand university VC to ‘improve vigilance, increase interaction with students’

It declared in the report that cultural and co-curricular activities should be promoted in the institution and that the process for approving extracurricular activities should be revisited to streamline and simplify the approval process.

The committee also urged authorities to direct other universities to organise “a sufficient number of cultural, sports, and other co-curricular activities to ensure the proper grooming of students.”

It found that the issue of keeping rabab by students could have been resolved amicably but the chief proctor “exacerbated the situation” by adopting a strict behaviour, which was unbecoming of an academic disciplinarian.

The panel declared that there was no explicit restriction on the possession of musical instruments on campus and the regulations only banned the playing of music without permission.

It said the provost’s response to the report of the security team’s head appeared to be reactionary and contrary to the prudent judgement.

“A show cause notice was served by the provost on May 29 with directions to students to submit a response within three working days, but their hostel allotment was suspended without waiting for the reply to the show-cause notice, reflecting impulsiveness and unwarranted haste, consequently mounting pressure on students with impending examinations,” read the report.

It added that instead of rectifying the impulsive and reactionary behaviour of the chief proctor, the provost escalated the situation by imposing “disproportionate and unauthorised penalties on students without awaiting the receipt of replies to show-cause notices.”

The committee noted that the provost’s cold shoulder response to the requests of students for restoration of their hostel allotment was illogical, displaying a lack of administrative insight. “The students’ concern regarding the cancellation of the suspension of hostel allotment is evident from their actions, as the affected students, along with others, visited the provost’s office twice on 30th May, seeking restoration,” it declared.

The committee said there appeared to be no direct relationship between the university administration and the tragic accident that resulted in the death of Musa Khan.

“The mounting pressures stemming from the show-cause notices and suspension of hostel allotment along with subsequent insomnia cannot be discounted as contributing factors to the accident.”

In a statement, the chief proctor informed the probe committee that at around 8pm on May 25, he observed around 15-20 students to be “in possession of the rabab” in the football ground.

“Ashraf Ali, a student of the department of mathematics, was carrying the rabab. I approached the group and inquired about permission to have rabab on university premises. They were required to have permission from the director of societies, chief proctor, or provost for playing the rabab, but they did not possess any such permission,” he said.

In a statement to the committee, the provost claimed that the relevant security in charge submitted a written report regarding the incident to him through a proper channel, so he instructed the chief proctor to issue a show cause notice to the students concerned.

He added that after the issuance of the show cause notice on May 29, he received verbal reports from “student sources” in the hostel about a possible student protest.

“Considering the imminent terminal examinations of the semester and preventing any chaotic situation during the exams, the hostel allotments for students Ashraf Ali (eighth semester, mathematics), Waqas Ahmad (fourth semester, English), and Musa Khan (sixth semester, journalism) were suspended effective from May 29 until further notice,” he said.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Malakand Prof Rasheed Khan was not available for comments on the report.

Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Reforming militants
24 Jul, 2024

Reforming militants

Such initiatives have been tried before, in Swat for instance, at centres run by the military as well as NGOs.
IPP debate
24 Jul, 2024

IPP debate

A FIERCE debate blaming the exorbitant electricity prices on expensive power purchase agreements with IPPs has been...
Political vendettas
24 Jul, 2024

Political vendettas

IT seems that the PML-N and PPP need to be reminded again that they are doing themselves a considerable disservice ...
Security concerns
23 Jul, 2024

Security concerns

All stakeholders want what is best for the country and its people; their differing approaches shouldn’t be viewed with such suspicion all the time.
Frankfurt vandalism
23 Jul, 2024

Frankfurt vandalism

THE state needs to seek serious answers from the German authorities regarding the July 20 mob attack targeting...
Stressed cotton economy
23 Jul, 2024

Stressed cotton economy

DECREASING cotton production should be a worry for the government because of its socioeconomic implications. Early...