The Supreme Court on Saturday ordered the immediate removal of Punjab University acting vice chancellor Dr Zakariya Zakar from the university’s top slot and ordered the appointment of the senior-most professor in the university as the acting vice chancellor.

Dr Tariq Zahid Butt is likely to replace Dr Zakar as VC in the interim period, as he is the most senior faculty member in Punjab University (PU) at the moment. The decision came as the Supreme Court continued hearing into as suo motu notice of an application received by the apex court’s Human Rights Cell from PU Academic Staff Association (ASA). The ASA has requested Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar to take a suo motu notice of the controversial sale of PU land to National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC). On Friday, the court was informed that the land had been sold off to NTDC after the formal approval of PU syndicate that voted in favour of the sale 7 to 4.

Hearing the case on Saturday, a two-member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar questioned under what capacity had the university syndicate given land to the government for building a grid station. The bench summoned member of the PU syndicate in court.

During the hearing, the Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar observed that it had now become clear that the government did not appoint permanent vice chancellors in universities in order to get its legal and illegal demands accepted, questioning why a permanent vice chancellor had not been appointed in PU for the last two-and-a-half-years. The chief justice remarked that the court must be told upon whom the responsibility for the delay in appointment rested.

The chief justice said it was in the court’s knowledge that the land had been given to the government for the Orange Line Train project. Khalid Ranjha, counsel for Dr Zakar requested the court to review it decision regarding the vice chancellor, however, Justice Nisar ordered Dr Zakar to tender his resignation and then leave it to the court to review the matter.

Dr Zakar then offered to resign from his post and submitted his resignation in the court.

Read details about the initial sale of the PU land to NTDC here.

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