islamabad - The government is struggling in its test case of appointing the permanent heads of the public sector universities of the city, while the delay has finally started resulting in the ad-hocism in institutions, The Nation learned on Friday.  Sources said that the appointment process of the heads of Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU), Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) and Islamic International University (IIU) is halted and the government is confused in taking a decision after facing criticism on the selection process.  “The summary of the final nine names remain on Prime Minister’s (PM) table, meanwhile the selection process was challenged in Islamabad High Court (IHC),” said official sources.  An official said that due to delay in appointment of a permanent head, the federal ministry of education gave the look after charge of AIOU to a junior professor of the university.   

“Seniority is being ignored and handpicked officials are being awarded the top most post temporarily,” said official.  The ministry gave look after charge to Dr Nasir Mehmood superseding 11 senior professors, said the official. According to the notification issued the ministry appointed Dr Nasir Mehmmod, Dean Faculty of education as acting VC of AIOU. The previous VC AIOU Dr Shahid Siddique retired on October 8. The notification said that “the competent authority i.e. pro-Chancellor of AIOU has been pleased to allow look after charge of the position of VC, AIOU to Dr Nasir Mehmmod, Chairman Department of Early Childhood Education & Elementary Teacher Education Dean, Faculty of Education till the appointment of regular incumbent of the position with immediate effect. He will look after the routine matters of the office of VC, AIOU”.  Sources informed that Dr Ali Asghar Chishti, Dr Syed Zafar Illyas and Dr Shahid Illyas were the senior most professors, while Dr Nasir Mehmood still has not completed his probationary period of professorship.  “There is a serious resentment in the university as seniority of 11 professors has been ignored in this appointment,” said a senior official at AIOU.

Meanwhile, VC QAU Prof Dr Javed Ashraf’s term also ended on Friday and no name for the post of VC was announced by the government.

The QAU faced the worst crises after the differences between VC and Academic Staff Association (ASA) remained unresolved and the outgoing VC had to run the university matters from his residence. An official said that Prof Dr Waqar Ali Shah is the senior most Dean at QAU and he was earlier also given the charge of acting VC during the crises at campus when Prof Dr Javed Ashraf had applied for leave following the suggestion of the federal ministry.  

“All the university administrative matters were halted in absence of permanent VCs and scholars had to suffer a lot as their academic cases were not being processed,” said the official. 

Ex-Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) Prof Dr Javed Laghari regarding the selection process viewed that the whole process of selection, including short listing the candidates for the interviews leaves doubts in the minds of the academic community if merit and transparency is being followed.  He said foremost all three federal universities QAU IIU and AIOU have a different focus and mission. None of the search committee members has ever served as VCs and many qualified candidates were not included for interview.  The six member search committee comprised of secretary ministry of education Arshad Mirza, Chairman HEC Dr Tariq Banuri, Dr Sania Nishtar, Salman Ghani and Syed Javed Hasan. 

The committee had shortlisted 28 candidates for the interview and selected nine in the final summary. Names of three candidates were proposed against each university and PM had to select final 3 candidates, each for one university. Spokesperson ministry for education Taimoor Ali Khan talking to The Nation said that the summary for the selection of heads of the institutions has been moved to the PM for approval. 

He said minister himself is out of country and the process will be likely completed on his return. He also added that the file for acting charge of QAU VC has not been received yet, while the charge will be given to the senior most Dean.