ISLAMABAD-The aspirant candidates for the post of Vice Chancellor Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University on Friday expressed serious concerns on the final selection made by search committee for the vacant slot at the medical university.

Federal cabinet following the recommendations of the search committee had approved the name of Prof. Dr Tanwir Khaliq, Professor of Surgery and Head of Department (HOD), Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) and Principal Federal Medical and Dental College (FMDC).

The post of the VC SZABMU was vacant since January 2018 after the retirement of its first VC Prof. Dr Javed Akram.  

The search committee comprised Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari, Dr Faisal Sultan, VC Quaid e Azam University Prof Muhammad Ali, Executive Director of Higher Education Commission Lt. Gen, (Rtd) Asghar Javed and Chairperson BISP Dr Sania Nishter.

The documents available with The Nation revealed that on advertising of the post of Vice Chancellor SZBU, about 32 professors applied for this post from all provinces. According to PMDC and HEC criteria, only six senior professors were shortlisted for interview.

 Officials said that on May 8, 2019, six candidates including Prof Mulazim Hussain Bukhari, Prof Maj. Gen. (Rtd) AK Naveed, Prof Muhammad Umar, Prof Tanveer Khaliq, Prof Hassan Abbas Zaheer, Professor Shamsa Rizwan called for the interview.

Three of which were from clinical sciences and three from the Basic Medical Sciences, said an official.  

As per academic credentials Prof Dr Mulazim Hussain Bukhari and Prof. AK Naveed were having the degrees of FCPS, PhD and post PhD higher qualifications with published research in international journals.

However, Prof Tanwir Khaliq was having FCPS qualification and having clinic post of surgeon at PIMS.

According to HEC, for the medical university Vice chancellor posts, Ph.D degree level 8 qualifications are mandatory.

Officials said that the initial summary had included the names of Prof Dr Mulazim Hussain Bukhari and Prof. AK Naveed along with Prof. Dr Tanwir Khaliq.

However, the final summary sent for the approval included the names of Professor Tanwir Khaliq, Professor Muhmmad Umer (VC) Rawalpindi Medical University, Professor Hassan Abbas Zaheer, and Professor of Pathology at PIMS.

Professor Mulazim Hussain said that senior professors having Ph.Ds were neglected and comparatively less qualification individuals were added to the final summary to award the blue eyed persons.

He said that it was violation of merit and promotion of nepotism when the names of Ph.Ds were removed from the list of final summary.

Meanwhile, as per HEC criteria, the FCPS is equivalent to MPHIL/MS degree and not PhD degree.

Prof Maj. Gen. (Rtd) AK Naveed talking to The Nation said that he had highest marks but was not included in the list.

He said that the Supreme Court had ordered in 2015 that a maximum of 15 per cent marks can be allocated for interview but in this case interview was allocated 50 per cent marks.

He said it was a violation of merit and the search committee likely remained unfair in short listing of names.

Another candidate and VC Rawalpindi Medical University Prof Muhammad Umar talking to The Nation said that merit for such appointment is made keeping in view the research papers and research experience.

He said that in last four candidates shortlisted for SZABMU VC, he was top of the list followed by AK Naveed. As both have strong and high academic credentials

Dr Umar said, however, the controversy was stirred when the candidates on top of the merit list were ignored and applicants with low merit were preferred in the final list.

He said that the committee weighted interview marks more than the qualification which reflected the committee’s biased opinion.