Hearing of petition challenging VCs’ appointments adjourned until May 13

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Lahore High Court (LHC) Justice Ijazul Ahsan on Thursday adjourned the hearing of six identical petitions until May 13 challenging the process for appointment of six public-sector universities’ vice chancellors and composition of search committee tasked with the appointments.
Earlier, para wise comments from the Punjab government were submitted in court stating that the search committee was inviting only those candidates who meet the criteria for appointments. The Punjab government said that the committee did not invite the petitioners for interviews, as their academic credentials were not up to the required criteria. According to the reply, candidates holding PhDs from top 500 foreign and local universities were being short-listed.
Advocate Rana Asadullah Khan, representing two of the petitioners, requested the court to stay the proceedings of the search committee until final decision on the petitions. Justice Ahsan turned down the request and observed that the court will get its order implemented even after completion of the appointment process by the search committee. The judge adjourned the hearing for further arguments, as Punjab Additional Advocate General Faisal Zaman also sought time to argue the case.
The petitions were filed by Dr Hassan Amir Shah of the Government College University (GCU) Lahore, Bushra Khan of the Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) and others. The petitioners had applied for the posts of VC and later challenged the alleged changing in the advertised criteria for the said posts. They assailed the composition of the search committee saying that there were no rules, regulations and policy guidelines for selection and appointment of its members.
The petitioners said that none of the members of search committee had a PhD degree or teaching experience but were holding interviews of those who possessed much higher academic qualifications than each one of them. Hearing of petition challenging Zahid’s appointment adjourned: A Lahore High Court (LHC) division bench on Thursday adjourned until May 9 the hearing of a petition challenging appointment of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Punjab Director General (DG) Rana Zahid Mehmood.
The bench consisting of Justice Chaudhry Iftikhar Hussain and Justice Sheikh Ahmed Farooq was hearing the petition filed by Shah Faisal Farooq, through his counsel Azhar Siddique. Earlier, Deputy Attorney General Ashraf Khan requested the court to provide copies of the applications and allow time to file the reply. The petitioner’s counsel opposed the request submitting that the plea was pending for the last two months but the government wanted to retain Zahid as NAB Punjab DG illegally due to which it avoided filing the reply to allow the DG to complete his tenure.
He contended that no one could work after expiry of his contract until it was extended but the NAB Punjab DG was illegally occupying the office after expiry of his contract. The petitioner submitted that Zahid was committing illegalities during pendency of the case against his appointment. Farooq said that as he was an affectee of the wrongdoings of the DG and after challenging his appointment, he feared that Zahid might influence the inquiry against him in NAB.
Farooq submitted that Zahid, a former LHC judge, was appointed on contract as acting NAB Punjab DG by violating the rules after the SC removed him from the judiciary on a petition filed by the Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA). The petitioner said that the SC had declared the contract appointment a violation of its judgement. Farooq submitted that Zahid was a close relative of Kanal Motors case accused Rana Qaiser Nazir which was being investigated by NAB. He said that Zahid, using his influence had Investigation Officer (IO) Rana Waqas Mehmood removed.
The petitioner said that the matter was reported to the NAB chairman and Punjab Police inspector general (IG) through various applications but no action was taken in this regard. Farooq requested the court to declare Zahid’s appointment illegal and transfer the case’s investigation to Waqas. The petitioner, through civil miscellaneous applications, requested the court to stop Zahid from working due to illegalities committed during pendency of the case and expiry of his contract on April 20.