The annual elections of Punjab University Academic Staff Association (ASA) culminated in the scale tipping in favour of the Teachers Front Academic Alliance (TFAA), which secured four seats, including that of the president. The rival group, Teachers’ Alliance (TA), managed to win just two seats.
According to the results announced late on Tuesday night, the seat of president was secured by TFAA’s Dr Mahboob Hussain, Dr Ashgar Iqbal from TA won the seat of general secretary, Chaudhry Naeemullah Khan from TFAA was elected the joint secretary and Munawar Iqbal, also from TFAA, won the seat of finance secretary. Other winners included TFAA’s Dr Kamran Mirza who bagged the vice president (Science) seat and Dr Muhammad Islam from TA winning the seat of vice president (Arts).
The elections were held at the Waheed Shaheed Hall of the Institute of Education and Research (IER), where around 700 teachers cast their votes in the polling that began at 8am and continued until 4pm.
The elections, however, did not occur as smoothly as previously desired, as one of the groups stopped the results and demanded a recount for several of the seats. The election commission had to satisfy the group of teachers and the results were announced late at night due to the argument raised by the contesting group.
The ASA elections were initially scheduled for March 13, but were delayed due to various reasons. One of the prime reason was that the some candidates deemed several appointments made by Vice Chancellor Dr Zakria Zakar as favouring their opponents. Following this, a rift emerged between the two rival groups that resultantly forced the ASA to postpone the elections.
Both parties, however, reconciled and elections were held albeit on agreed upon conditions on April 3. The newly-formed teachers’ body will represent the teaching community of the university for the next one year. This year also happens to be a crucial year as the appointment of a permanent vice chancellor is expected and the academics of the province are beginning to raise their voice against the changes in criteria made by the by Punjab government for appointment of vice chancellors at public universities.