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KARACHI, June 28: The years-long controversy over the qualification of the director of the Sheikh Zayed Islamic Centre, Karachi, seemed to come to an end on Thursday when the Vice Chancellor of Karachi University (KU) appointed a new director through a notification.

Prof Dr Shakeel Auj, currently the dean of the faculty of the Islamic Studies and director of the Seerat Chair, has been given the additional charge of the SZIC director.

He has replaced Dr Noor Ahmed Shahtaz, an ad-hoc assistant professor who had been heading the centre for more than three years, though an assistant professor cannot head the centre under the rules.

Dr Shahtaz’s term awarded by the defunct federal education ministry expired on June 16 this year.

Speaking to Dawn, Dr Auj said that he was joining the SZIC with a view to bringing about improvement at the centre and addressing the grievances of its employees.

“I am well aware of the developments taking place at the centre and one of my top priorities will be to solve the problems of its employees.”

It was a dire need of the centre to have a director and efforts would be made to complete the process soon, he said.

It is worth remembering that the KU vice chancellor in April this year had declared a meeting of the board of governors (BoG) of the centre null and void on account of irregularities committed in ‘procedures’.

Although no explanation was given about the irregularities, sources said the decision was taken after it emerged how the BoG meeting was deliberately planned in a way to get Dr Noor Ahmed Shahtaz — an ad-hoc assistant professor serving as the SZIC director with the support of the defunct federal education ministry — promoted to associate professor.

Inquires showed that the meeting of the SZIC was highly flawed and lacked representation.

Case details

Dr Shahtaz was dismissed from service following a unanimous resolution of the 11-member BoG of the SZIC in 2006 on allegations of holding fake credentials.

The decision was given in the light of an inquiry report. The board also unanimously rejected the recommendation of a selection board held in 2005 to promote Dr Shahtaz to associate professor.

In 2008, the Sindh High Court reinstated him to the same position (ad-hoc assistant professor) and ordered that the results of the 2005 selection board should be declared.

According to the judgment, the SZIC lawyer agreed to Dr Shahtaz’s claim that he was eligible at the time of induction. No appeal was filed against the judgment.

He rejoined the SZIC as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor, a grade-20 post, through an office order issued by the then SZIC director, Amin A.K. Wazir, who himself was an assistant professor of grade-19, in 2008 with effect from Sept 19, 2005.

Later, he was appointed as SZIC director by now defunct education ministry and was later given an extension till June, 2012.