The controversial appointment of Pro VC at Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) raised questions as the Higher Education Department (HED) Punjab appointed Dr Shagufta Naz whose appointment was declared controversial and irregular, furthermore the Vice-Chancellor LCWU was also kept aside in the whole process of appointment, reliable sources told Academia Magazine.

According to sources, the Higher Education Department has issued a notification of the appointment of Pro Vice Chancellor LCWU without informing and discussing it with the current Vice-Chancellor LCWU Dr Bushra Mirza.

The notification issued by HED dated March 16, 2023 states, “The Governor/ Chancellor, in the exercise of powers conferred upon him under Section 13 A (1) read with Section 9 (7) of the Lahore College for Women University, Lahore Ordinance 2002, is please to nominate Dr Shagufta Naz, Profess, Department of Biotechnology as Pro Vice Chancellor LCWU Lahore for a period of three years or till her superannuation, whichever is earlier.”

It is pertinent to mention here that during a special audit on the accounts of LCWU Lahore for the period 2010-20, it was noticed that Dr Shagufta Naz was appointed/recruited as Associate / Professor Biotechnology in violation of the appointment policy /eligibility criteria prescribed by HEC. At that time, Dr Shaghfata Naz had no teaching experience in any government educational institution before, and the experience of the two private companies was submitted.

However, reliable sources told the LCWU Vice Chancellor Dr Bushra Mirza has not sent any name or panel consisting of three professors to the Chancellor/ Governor Punjab or any other authority including HED.

Dr Shagufta Naz was appointed as Assistant Professor Biotechnology (HEC Tenure Track) wef 23-09-2005. She was appointed as Associate Professor Botany BS 20 wef 22-12-2008 and joined the post on 1-01-2009. Advertisement for the appointment was published on 28-04-2008.

As per the Tenure Track Statutes of HEC, the faculty members working under TTS are strongly discouraged to resign from TTS.  Nevertheless, the existing faculty after joining TTS can join back on the respective substantive post only if the Tenure appointment is not approved after final review. If, in the meantime, a faculty member decides to resign from his/her Tenure Track position, s/he will have no right of absorption back into the University. Her appointment in BPS 20 violated HEC-established criteria.

Her appointment in BPS is considered to be irregular as once a University adopted the Tenure Track System (TTS) of appointment then no further appointment of PhD degree holders may be made as Assistant / professors under the old BPS system. Such faculty members must be recruited under the TTS and as per Tenure track approved statutes 2008, an Assistant Professor having at least 6 years service and a good track record is eligible to be appointed as Associate Professor and 4 years service as Associate Professor is required for next promotion as Professor.

As per above mentioned criteria, Dr Shagufta Naz was not eligible for the post of Associate Professor before September 23, 2011 and for the post of Professor before September 23, 2015.

Interestingly, Dr Shagufta was appointed as Professor Biotechnology BS 21 wef April 23, 2010 and the ad was published on February 22, 2009. At that time, she had less teaching experience for the post of Associate professor and Professor. As she had only about 6 years & 7 months of teaching experience and about 8 years and 5 months as a Professor at the time of publication of the advertisement.

Her defective appointments as Associate Professor and Professor have resulted in the irregular and unauthorized drawl of salaries amounting to Rs 15 million during the period.

Sources also told Academia Magazine that during the meeting of the Syndicate held on March 6, 2023, the case of Dr Shagugta Naz was presented before the members of the Syndicate. The Vice-Chancellor LCWU Dr Bushra Mirza wanted to take action against Dr Shagufta Naz under PEEDA Act but the syndicate members intended the establishment of an inquiry committee to probe the matter.

By Arsalan Haider

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