The Punjab Higher Education Department (HED) has given in to the demands of faculty members, especially from the Government College University (GCU) Lahore, and given the charge of three universities to the vice chancellors who completed their terms as well as additional charge of two other universities of the province to VCs of other varsities.
According to a notification issued on September 11, the governor has appointed Dr Hassan Amir Shah, who completed his term on August 26, as the vice chancellor of GCU Lahore until October 31. The same arrangement has been reached for University of Education (UE) Vice Chancellor Dr Rauf-i-Azam, who completed his term on August 26. Prof Dr Samina Amir Qadir, whose term as the vice chancellor at Fatima Jinnah Women University Rawalpindi ended on August 26, also got re-appointed on temporary basis.
Furthermore, Islamia University Bahawalpur (IUB) Vice Chancellor Dr Athar Mahboob has been given the additional charge of Khawaja Fareed University of Engineering and Information Technology, Rahim Yar Khan. Similarly, Women University Multan Vice Chancellor Dr Uzma Qureshi has been assigned the additional charge of Government Sadiq College for Women University, Bahawalpur until October 31.
The HED hopes to fill the vacant positions with permanent vice chancellors at these five universities by October 31.
This decision, however, did not come without problems for HED. According to sources, HED planned to give additional charge to vice chancellors of other public universities, as it had been doing for various public varsities where the VCs’ tenure ended. This, however, was fiercely opposed by faculty members, especially that of GCU.
On September 5, the faculty of GCU gave September 13 deadline to the Punjab government for appointment of acting vice chancellor and threatened to hold protests if the government failed to do so. Additionally, the Academic Staff Association (ASA) of Government College University Lahore demanded that the government must notify the appointment of interim vice chancellor from among the academic fraternity (i.e. the outgoing vice chancellor or senior professor) without any further delay.
The GCU ASA also passed a resolution to this effect. The ASA said, “The vacation of the highest office of GCU is liable to cause multiple legal hurdles in the execution of these crucial affairs. ASA, hereby, reiterates its principled stance that the delegation of additional charge of the office of the GCU vice chancellor to the VC of some other university is not acceptable since the vast quantum of workload of GCU cannot be dispensed by a part time arrangement remotely managed by the VC of some other university.”