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PU VC resigns amid row with minister

No corruption of even a single penny on my part: Dr. Nasir  

By Usman Bekhabar

LAHORE (January 5, 2018): Punjab University Vice Chancellor Dr. Zafar Mueen Nasir Friday resigned from his post after a month-long tussle with Punjab Minister for Higher Education Raza Ali Gilani. The vice chancellor wrote his resignation letter by hand after offering Friday prayers at main Jamia Mosque, New Campus and sent the letter to the Punjab governor by a personal staff officer.

On December 8, Punjab Higher Education Department (PHED) sent a 26-point charge-sheet to the Punjab Governor Malik Rafique Rajwana leveling allegation financial and administrative irregularities of PU VC Dr Zafar Mueen Nasir.

The Punjab Higher Education Department (HED) prepared the charge-sheet and decided to investigate the alleged financial and administrative irregularities against Dr. Nasir allegedly on a directive of the minister.

The document had been sent to Punjab Governor, who is also the Chancellor of the Punjab University, for his approval to refer the case to Chief Minister’s Inspection Team (CMIT) for an investigation.

The issue flared up as a result of a tussle between Punjab Minister for Higher Education Raza Ali Gilani and PU VC Dr Zafar Mueen Nasir. The minister was annoyed due to public statement of the vice chancellor alleging that the minister had made undue demands for some illegal appointments, and opening of a PU campus in Hujra Shah Muqeem, the hometown of Mr. Raza Ali Gilani. However, the minister and his spokesperson rejected the allegations.

Also, a powerful lobby was working against Dr. Zafar Mueen Nasir, since he joined

the office of the vice chancellor. A member of this lobbyrequesting anonymity, said that the Higher Education Department has mentioned various illegal steps taken by the PU VC and also recommended that Dr Nasir was ineligible for the post of the VC. He was shortlisted and subsequently appointed as provisional VC by the Lahore High Court (LHC).

 

In the summary, according to officials, the department had attached documentary evidence. Sources said that the major allegations against the PU VC included an award of civil works contract worth Rs20 million without following formalities. In this case, PU’s former acting Chief Engineer Faizul Hasan Sipra had submitted a written statement before an inquiry committee that he was verbally ordered by the PU VC to perform the civil works.

The letter also mentioned the appointment of Dr. Muhammad Awais as Dean Faculty of Health Sciences without the approval of the chancellor and further stated that programmes of Allied Health Science had been started without the approval of relevant forums.

The HED also raised an objection to the appointment of some administrative posts by Dr Nasir, allegedly without the approval of the Chancellor. The sources said that the department also recommended investigations into several appointments by Dr Nasir in grades 19, 20 and 21.

PU Teachers Front leaders Dr Sajid Rashid, Dr Mahboob Hussain and others have welcomed the resign of the vice chancellor and they have demanded a complete investigation of the charges against him.   

Dr. Zafar Mueen Nasir had joined PU in January 2017 and earlier this week a report based on his one-year performance was released to the media. Dr. Nasir has said there was a lot of politics in Punjab University and he tried to eliminate group politics among teachers and students in the university. “I was working in American University, UAE and was enjoying a handsome salary and luxury life there.

I did not come for money, name, fame or anything else, rather I had come for service to my country. I had tried my level best for the development of the university.

I have not committed corruption of even a penny. An independent ‘performance audit’ can reveal truth to the university community, students and people of Pakistan,” he remarked.

Who is hopeful for appointment?

Dean Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences Dr. Zakria Zakar has emerged as the most favourite candidate for the regular appointment as vice chancellor. A source in PHED to The Educationist that they were closely watching the development at PU and two options were being considered for the appointment of VC, firstly giving  charge to the senior most professor as interim vice chancellor and secondly direct appointment of a regular VC to resolve the issue for four years. When further probed he said a decision in this regard will be taken soon.

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