CHAKDARA: Malakand University witnesses a spree of syndicates, targeting faculty members in discord with the inquiries-facing Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Gul Zaman who, as per sources, pulls the strings at the prestigious forums. The latest syndicate meeting held on August 3, 2021, became the 10th session during nine months; with the same period seeing three emergency syndicate meetings.

The sequence with which the syndicate meetings are held at the University of Malakand raises questions, as well as makes faculty members concerned after the latter signed a petition against the controversial Vice-Chancellor due to his whimsical amendments to the varsity statutes. Concerns of the faculty members are not baseless as varsity sources mentioned, stating convening syndicate meetings so frequently by the VC has got nothing to do with the welfare of the varsity “but are held again and again only to harass and torture teachers for showing defiance by signing a petition against VC Dr Gul Zaman.”

Malakand University’s administrative affairs face disarray, considering the VC-led victimization campaign against the teachers’ fraternity who, sources claimed, are refused NOCs, as well as their students’ synopsis in the ASRB, are deferred. “We don’t know what to do. Our MPhil and PhD students get their work done on time but we are unable to help them as they faced retribution for selecting us as their supervisors,” lamented a source who is also a signatory to the complaint against Malakand University Vice-Chancellor.

When asked another faculty member about the recent spree of syndicate meetings, he said the VC had nefarious designs of terminating dozens of faculty members not least those who led a peaceful protest wherein he threatened to shoot the protesters in the head. “Look, not only is he abusing his powers of calling a syndicate but is also presenting fake cases against us to the prestigious forum,” confided a faculty member, stating complaints are launched against them from the VC Office on the Pakistan Citizen Portal.

“We are caught up in a dilemma,” said the same faculty member who added: “On the one hand, we anxiously await reports of the two GITs, while on the other, the VC has been torturing us through these syndicate meetings for our defiance against his illegalities causing Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Shah Farman to launch inquiries against him.”

“We have full confidence in the procedure adopted by the inquiry committee constituted by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor after a petition was signed by faculty members against the Vice-Chancellor. But what makes us worry is the fact that it has been almost three-and-a-half months but no report of inquiry committee has been released yet by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government,” maintained faculty members.

It may be mentioned here that the above-mentioned inquiry body was headed by special secretary Higher Education Department Mr Qadar Safi who is known for his honesty and uprightness.

When this scribe dug deep into the issue of delay in the report of the GITs, it emerged that things are not as black and white as they seem to be; with sources in the provincial administration as well as university saying the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor of Malakand University might be hand in glove.

“You scratch my back, I will scratch yours” one source in the provincial administration told this scribe. “Release of the reports constantly hit snags as high-ups wheel and deal, giving time to the incumbent VC to complete his tenure until October 2021.”

Vice-Chancellor Dr Gul Zaman does not only wheel and deal with top guns in the province, he through his syndicates which, he regularly calls, victimize faculty members. “I was given a charge sheet in the previous emergency syndicate when I was accused of raising my voice with Deputy Registrar,” said Dr Muhammad Usman. “Then I was issued a show-cause notice for talking on a private television,” he lamented, bemoaning: “time of the syndicate was also wasted on a show-cause notice issued to me asking why I failed to complete quota of my classes. I answered the show-cause notice but was astonished to see the complaint against me was launched on the Citizen Portal through the VC Office.”

August 3 syndicate was also used by the Vice-Chancellor to take revenge on voices of dissent, alleged a university source. “Most of the syndicate decisions are given against those who signed the petition against the Vice-Chancellor,” maintained the well-informed source, stating: “Faculty members were issued charge sheets for merely sharing newspapers clips on social media. The same retaliatory measures were taken in the previous syndicates against Dr Muhammad Usman for talking on higher education issues on a private TV channel.”

The latest syndicate meeting also removed Dr Arshad Ali as chairperson of the Department of Management Studies. “This is a classic example of revenge taken by inquiries-facing VC against Dr Arshad Ali who being a sane voice signed the petition against the Vice-Chancellor,” he added.

Author

Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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