Mamnoon receives revised summary for KIU vice chancellor post
Islamabad, February 17: President Mamnoon Hussain has received revised summary carrying five names for the post of the vice chancellor of Karakoram International University (KIU) with senior academician Dr. Najma Najam pushed out of the race on political pressure from the Gilgit-Baltistan government, sources said here on Sunday.
Sources said the summary now carries names including Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad, chairman of the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Dr. Asif Khan from Peshawar University, Dr. Muhammad Memon from Aga Khan University, Dr. ZA Hilai of Peshawar University and Dr. G Raza Bhatti, director of the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation at Shah Abdul Latif University.
They said the Search Committee constituted by Higher Education Commission (HEC) initially sent four names to 15-member Senate of KIU that rejected the name of Dr. Najma Najam and forwarded three other names to the president who was supposed to select one of them for the post of the KIU vice chancellor.
“The president directed the KIU Senate on January 28 to include more names in the list of the candidates after which interviews were again conducted by the Search Committee that increased the number of candidates to five in its revised list. After receiving revised list, the KIU Senate forwarded it to the president who would now give his final decision in this respect,” sources said.
An official who is believed to have close working relationship with present vice chancellor of KIU Dr. Najma Najam claimed that the majority of members of Senate of KIU enjoy cordial terms with the high-ups of the Gilgit-Baltistan government that was why they used their influence to get her out of the race for the slot of the vice chancellor.
He said Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan Syed Mehdi Shah on May 29 wrote a letter to the then president, Asif Ali Zardari, against Dr. Najma Najam and levelled baseless allegations against her.
When contacted, Syed Raziuddin Rizvi, chairman of Public Accounts Committee of Gilgit-Baltistan, told this correspondent that Dr. Najma Najam failed to live up to the expectations of the relevant authorities due to which a highly reputed educational institution lost its respect in the eyes of the people.
The official record showed that Vice Chancellor of KIU Dr. Najma Najam completed her four-year term on June 10, 2013 after which she was given six months extension by the president on the recommendation of the KIU Senate. The president then directed the HEC to constitute a Search Committee and forward names for the post of the vice chancellor through Senate of KIU within six months.
Expressing her inability to comment on the issue, Dr. Najma Najam told this correspondent that “I can offer no comments on this issue.”
Afzal Shigri, who resigned as head of Senate of KIU but later again took charge on the insistence of the relevant authorities told this correspondent “We have followed all rules and regulations while shortlisting the candidates and conducting their interviews for the post of the vice chancellor of KIU so there should be no doubt regarding transparency in the whole process.”