Former acting VC of FUUAST accused of illegal appointments and promotions

Former acting VC of FUUAST accused of illegal appointments and promotions

FUUAST illegal appointments

Allegations of illegal appointments and promotions continue to plague the former Acting Vice-Chancellor of the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (FUUAST) after revelations of unauthorized staff appointments and promotions came to light six months following an HEC report exposing irregularities, nepotism, and missing official records from the teachers’ selection board in February 2023.

The former Acting VC of FUUAST went on a hiring spree, making 107 promotions, regularizing 26 positions, and elevating four individuals to the rank of full professors while simultaneously appointing an equal number of associate professors during a syndicate meeting. However, his actions were halted by the Pro-Chancellor of the university. All these promotions and regularizations blatantly violated FUUAST Ordinance and Senate decisions concerning the authority of Dr M Ziauddin.

The former Acting Vice Chancellor of FUUAST, Prof Dr Muhammad Ziauddin, sought to promote 107 non-teaching staff to higher pay scales, regularized 26 non-teaching positions, and elevated four to the status of full professors (BPS-21) and an additional four to associate professors (BPS-20). This was done without waiting for the final decision by the university’s Senate and in clear defiance of instructions from the Federal Ministry of Education and Professional Training and the Higher Education Commission.

According to information obtained by The News, Dr Muhammad Ziauddin convened a special syndicate meeting on September 21, 2023, in apparent violation of the Federal Ministry of Education’s instructions (dated September 20, 2023) and the constraints imposed by the university’s Senate (in September 2022). This meeting aimed to provide cover for his irregular appointments and promotions, all while the university grappled with severe financial issues, leading to non-payment of salaries for the past two months to its employees and pensioners.

The syndicate meeting was attended by Dr Muhammad Ziauddin, Wajid Jawad (President, Anjuman Tarraqi Urdu), Prof Dr Masood Mashkoor (Dean, Business Education), Dr Rizwana Jabeen (Acting Controller Examinations), and Dr Mahjabeen (Acting Registrar). However, it was noted that the syndicate did not have the required quorum, with fewer than eight members in attendance.

Significantly, the promoted employees received their promotion letters without the completion and approval of syndicate minutes. Additionally, as per FUUAST Ordinance, the Syndicate did not possess the authority to approve promotions for positions at grade 17 and above.

One of the syndicate participants later admitted in a written response to a probing committee that they were shown sealed envelopes and asked to approve promotions without knowledge of their content. It is noteworthy that both the former VC and the Acting Registrar evaded the committee and failed to provide an explanation.

The Acting VC, Dr Ziauddin, proceeded to promote and upgrade a large number of individuals without considering the available sanctioned posts. This was done despite the fact that university teachers, employees, and pensioners had not received their regular monthly salaries for the past two months. University officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, disclosed that they anticipated government intervention to resolve the salary issue, given the institution’s status as a government university.

Upon receiving credible reports of these violations and financial mismanagement, the Federal Ministry of Education and Professional Training acted swiftly. They revoked the notification in favor of the Acting VC regarding the continuation of day-to-day affairs and referred the matter to the Chancellor of the university, requesting a Senate meeting. The ministry also formed a special committee to investigate the syndicate’s actions, led by Abdul Sattar Khokar, Nasir Shah, Brig. Syed Ali Haider Kazmi, Prof Dr Abdul Aziz Sahir, and Samina Durrani.

Several questionable promotions at the university included 10 instances of grade 17 jumps, 18 cases of grade 16 promotions, and 15 cases of grade 15 advancements, all seemingly lacking merit criteria and sanctioned posts.

Notably, none of these promotions or regularizations adhered to any published advertisements or followed proper legal procedures. The committee’s findings revealed instances of altering the basic cadre of employees, with many being assigned posts as Superintendents, and some positions created in contravention of the University Ordinance, such as Personal Assistant to the Controller. Changing the basic cadre of employees is a complex process when following legal requirements.

The Acting VC also conferred full professorship upon four candidates whose advertisements had been published in 2017. Dr Muhammad Sarim, one of the promoted individuals, had also been elevated to the rank of Associate Professor a few months prior. Furthermore, Prof Dr Ziauddin promoted Dr Maryam Shafiq, Dr Shaheen Abbass, Dr Hafiz Sani, and Dr Zahid Khan to the position of associate professors, all without the necessary oversight. The Higher Education Commission had declined to attend the selection board advertised more than six years ago, as communicated in a letter dated September 9, 2023.

This saga paints a troubling picture of the university’s management, raising serious questions about transparency, compliance with regulations, and financial stewardship.

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