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KARACHI, July 4: Administrative matters at the Sheikh Zayed Islamic Centre (SZIC) of Karachi University got further complicated when its newly appointed director was stopped from assuming office through a court order.

Prof Dr Shakeel Auj, currently the dean of the faculty of the Islamic Studies and director of the Seerat Chair, was given the additional charge of the SZIC director by the KU vice chancellor, who heads the SZIC board of governors.

Prof Auj was to replace Dr Noor Ahmed Shahtaz, an ad hoc assistant professor who had been heading the centre for more than three years.

The step taken by the KU vice chancellor was likely to end the years-long controversy over the competence of Dr Shahtaz, who earlier this week obtained a stay order from the Sindh High Court against his removal.

“The university has not yet received a notice directly from the court, though it has got a copy of the (court) order which seems to have been posted by Dr Shahtaz himself. We are waiting for an order from the court to file our reply,” said Asif Mukhtar, the KU deputy registrar (legal).

In his petition, Dr Shahtaz contended that the defunct federal education ministry had appointed him SZIC director till the time a regular director was appointed through a selection board, and that the KU vice chancellor did not have the authority to appoint a director for the centre, which was established under a protocol between the government of Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.

The protocol designated the prime minister to appoint the SZIC director, he maintained.