LAHORE: A School of Communication Studies associate has written to Punjab University (PU) Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof Dr Saleem Mazhar that the appointments of two professors in his department were made in violation of merit by the authorities.
Complainant Prof Dr Shabbir Sarwar has submitted the application to the chancellor/governor, Chief Minister Office, Higher Education Department and Punjab Higher Education Commission.
He states he has been a faculty member at the School of Communication Studies since 2013 and he also applied for the post of Professor of Communication Studies at the same school.
He stated the HR Department sought a list of the panel of experts of the subject belonging to the advanced countries. It was also advised in the letter that the list should be made in consultation with the faculty members and minutes of the faculty meeting should be sent to the HR department.
He stated no such a faculty meeting was held and no minutes were recorded, rather, were collected from some faculty members individually names, in blatant violation of the laid down procedure as per law.
He alleged that Savera Mujeeb Shami and Lubna Zaheer in connivance with the then VC Prof Dr Niaz Ahmad Akhtar submitted a common list of experts and the VC selected only those experts from the list to their consent for evaluation of the seek cases who were suggested by Ms Shami and Ms Zaheer.
He alleged the data on candidates was sent for evaluation to the foreign professors/panel of experts suggested by Ms Shami and Ms Zaheer jointly, hence their chances of selection were ensured and in the panel reports of referees, Ms Shami and Ms Lubna, were declared equal on No 1 position against one post of professor.
Mr Sarwar alleged the Selection Board held on May 18, 2022, and the board also declared them equal as No 1 due to political influence.
He alleged that former VC Dr Niaz Ahmad (a few days before his retirement) already issued their appointment orders using his anticipatory powers of 15 (3) which cannot be used for new appointments as per law as these powers may be used in emergency only to run university affairs.
He alleged that amongst internal candidates, he has the largest number of 25 publications, besides over 22-year experience in academic and fieldwork, which is more in all respects as compared to both selected candidates. He also pointed out that another candidate Mian Hanan Ahmad who has more than 30 research publications to his credit was also not selected for the post.
Mr Sarwar alleged that the candidates with a lesser number of publications and experience were appointed as professors in BPS 21.
He also alleged that earlier appointments of Ms Shami and Ms Zaheer as an assistant professor and associate professor were also made on political influence. In the case of Ms Shami, a special corrigendum was issued to accommodate her while in the case of Lubna Zaheer, a special advertisement was published and her interview for the selection board was scheduled within days.
VC Mr Mazhar told Dawn that all the appointments were made on merit and on the recommendation of foreign referees. He said the department would send the names of the referees and the VC would only have to pick three people who conduct an evaluation.
Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2022