Search committee to finalise names for nine varsities New VCs

PESHAWAR:April 29: The academic search committee would soon finalise names for the appointment of vice-chancellors of nine public sector universities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after the completion of interviews for the purpose. Some 65 candidates out of the total 240 were called for interview held on April 21 and 22. The committee would recommend three names for each university among whom the Khyber Pakhtunkwa governor, who is chancellor of public sector universities, would make the appointment on the recommendation of the chief minister. The provincial government about two months ago advertised the vacant positions of vice-chancellors of nine universities including Gomal University Dera Ismail Khan, Kohat University of Science and Technology, the Hazara University, University of Engineering and Technology Peshawar, Islamia College University, Abbottabad University of Science and Technology, Women University Swabi, Shuhada-e-Army Public School University of Technology Nowshera, and Women University Mardan. Some 240 candidates from across the province as well as other provinces of the country had applied for the posts. The Higher Education Department forwarded all the applications to the academic search committee headed by former federal minister and chairman Higher Education Commission Dr Attaur Rahman. The committee short-listed some 40 candidates in the initial scrutiny and called them for interview, sources told The News. The sources said the remaining applicants were informed through letters about their shortcomings and were given a chance to fulfill them before the interview. The process of calling applicants for the interview continued till the final date, the sources said. Some officials on the other hand alleged that certain applicants used political influence to appear in the interview, though they had not been shortlisted in the initial scrutiny. However, in view of the integrity of all the members of the search committee these allegations seem to hold little ground. A serving vice-chancellor of a university told this reporter that in view of the high calibre, brilliant career and honest past of all the committee members especially its convenor, it is unbelievable that any political pressure might have been used or accepted. Some reports suggested that a senior Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader was making interventions in the process of appointment of vice-chancellors. One official even said that a parallel committee has been formed under the same leader, who has been playing a role in higher education affairs from the day one of the PTI government. However, these reports weren’t confirmed by an quarter. An officer at the higher education department, who expressed unawareness about any such parallel committee, argued that it was not possible to run a parallel system in the presence of such high-powered committee comprising known academicians from across the country including Dr Sohail H Naqvi, former executive director HEC and vice-chancellor LUMS University, Lahore, former State Bank of Pakistan Governor Dr Ishrat Hussain, presently director Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi and Dr Ghulam Abbas Mian, rector Rifah University, Islamabad.The news.