Unfazed by protests, UET VC gets fourth extension


Varsity faculty members, FAPUASA were demanding Akram’s removal
Punjab CM, who had earlier appointed him, approved his fourth extension
Despite the protests of Federation of All Pakistan University’s Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) seeking removal of University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Lieutenant General (r) Muhammad Akram, Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, in his capacity as the varsity’s chancellor, extended his contract for the fourth time under section 13 (1) of the UET Lahore Act 1974. Akram is the only retired army officer who could not be removed despite pressure from the teaching community.
The UET VC was working on his post for the last 12 years due to three extensions given to him while the Punjab governor awarded him another term with an immediate affect. The new extension disappointed the varsity’s faculty who were trying to get rid of their boss for sometime now. According to a few faculty members, former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf had founded the tradition of appointing former army officers as VCs of educational institutions. Despite the fact that Musharraf had gone into self-exile aboard, Akram was holding on to the post.
The faculty members said that why could not the Punjab government find a civilian to serve as the UET VC, as a large number of renowned educationists were waiting for their turns. But some faculty members appreciated Taseer’s decision and said that under Akram’s administration, UET had performed very well and the governor’s decision would benefit the students as well.
FAPUASA President Maher Saeed Akhtar said that the Punjab government should not appoint outsiders as VCs of varsities. He said that all senior faculty members of a university had a right to become the VC. A group of UET teachers and FAPUASA were against Akram’s extension and even held protests demanding his removal during Musharraf’s era. During the former president’s tenure, many retired army officers were appointed as VCs of various universities. But Akram was appointed the UET VC during Shahbaz Sharif’s first tenure as Punjab CM from 1997-99. The UET VC succeeded in abolishing student politics and changed the varsity’s environment for the better. His management skills were highly-appreciated due to which repeated governments awarded him extensions.
Earlier, a summary was sent to Shahbaz for grating another extension to Akram. Many people believed that the Punjab CM would grant him another extension, as he had appointed him during his first tenure. A large number of faculty members believed that Shahbaz might give a chance to a civilian for running the university. But the Punjab CM, setting an example of nepotism, approved Akram’s fourth extension as the UET VC.