The Chancellor/Governor has directed the Punjab Higher Education Department (HED) to seek advice from the law department regarding the ban on recruitment of faculty and staff members in public universities of the province, where the remaining tenure of Vice-Chancellors (VCs) was less than six months.

The HED Punjab had sought the advice of the chancellor/governor over the issue previous month. While the directives from chancellor were still on hold, the HED in a document issued on June 28, 2019, had imposed a ban on recruitments in all such varsities. This move led to strong reactions form the academic circles including academic staff associations of public sector universities, who termed the ban as unlawful and illegal.

A VC of a university, seeking anonymity, said the process of hiring in universities where the remaining tenure of VC was less than six months was stopped after issuance of a letter by HED. “This is strange that instead of waiting for the chancellor’s final directions, the department imposed the ban,” he added.

He added since the VCs could not afford a confrontation with the department, they halted the recruitment process. “Otherwise, there is no logic and justification to ban the recruitments at universities without directions from the chancellor,” he added. A senior official of Punjab HED had termed the document to the universities ‘a caution’ or ‘piece of advice to VCs’ following complaints of the alleged violation in merits pertaining to the hiring or recruitment of staff members.

Another VC said because of the current situation, universities could possibly suffer, as the new academic session was about to commence and new teaching and non-teaching staff were required.

It is important to mention here that the universities where remaining tenure of VCs was less than six months included Government College University (GCU) Lahore, University of Education (UOE) Lahore, Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) Rawalpindi, Government Sadiq College Women University, Bahawalpur and Khawaja Fareed University of Engineering & Information Technology, Rahim Yar Khan.

According to HED Special Secretary Sajid Zafar, the department will refer the case again through the law department, stating that the power of VC would be quoted as well. He said the department had also received some letters from universities seeking permission to complete the recruitment processes that were already under process, quoting that the department would also send these letters to the chancellor/governor.

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