Arsalan Haider

Administrative matters related to public sector universities and colleges across Punjab are being greatly influenced by a blue-eyed officer in Punjab HED (Higher Education Department), The Academia learnt on Tuesday.

Well informed sources at HED told this scribe that the officer, Ishtiaq Ahmed, was currently working on deputation and was using his influence to appoint his favorites on important administrative posts in public universities and colleges of the province.

The sources said the influential personal staff officer of minister of Higher Education Punjab was misusing his powers and continuously interfering in administrative matters of higher education institutes of the province.

They also claimed that Ishtiaq issued various orders and created hurdles in the ways of college principals who did not obey his orders. “He also tries to create hurdles in smooth running of the day-to-day affairs of colleges by stopping routine cases of principals that refuse to obey his illegal orders,” the sources confided.

It was further learnt that the influential PSO was violating merit and transparency in the appointment of the principal of Jinnah Islamia College, Sialkot. The PSO is creating hurdles in the appointment of Oxford graduate, Grade 20 senior professor Dr Mujahid Bukhari, as the principal, despite the fact that he fulfilled the criteria of the appointment. The sources added that the PSO wanted to appoint a junior professor on the seat of principal.

They added that senior officials of the public sector universities had complained to the high-ups against Ishtiaq Ahmed and expressed reservations over his conduct, but no action had been taken so far. The Academia was informed that the “competent” officer was openly participating in syndicate meetings of universities in the capacity of the personal staff officer, which was illegal. According to the law, no outsider is allowed to participate in the meeting of the syndicate.

It is pertinent to mention that Ishtiaq Ahmed is a college lecturer, but has used his influence to get appointed at several important administrative posts in HED Punjab over the years. Nowadays, he is simultaneously working on deputation in Punjab HED, as PSO to the minister and deputy director coordination in Punjab Higher Education Commission.

Senior officials working in higher education institutes of the province have demanded the government take strict action against the PSO, who is misusing his powers and continuously interfering in the affairs of the public sector higher education institutes of Punjab. Recently, the matter of interference and influence by the PSO was also relayed to the Punjab governor by several VCs, but no action has been taken in this regard so far.

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