- Employees challenge termination in IHC
ISLAMABAD: The on-going wave of terminating employees at the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT) has become a constant source of nuisance for the employees as during the last few months, over 200 employees have been sacked in clear violation of COMSATS Ordinance 2000 Section 14 (i) and Statutes 2009 Section 21.
Sources said that over 200 faculty members have been terminated during the period from July 17 to December 3 from seven campuses of the university sans any prior notifications and warnings. They said that the terminated employees included even those having 13 years of association with the institute.
The fired employees include teachers, contractual workers and daily wage labourers such as sweepers. This abrupt termination could negatively affect the people who used to work on daily wages and who were the sole bread earners for the entire family.
Talking to Pakistan Today, the sacked employees said that they were terminated in clear violation of the set rules and regulations of the institute, as they had never been given any prior warning or notice.
Besides that, they said that how an acting rector of the university could sack employees in such a huge number, with rising apprehension that more employees could be sacked in the near future. They also wrote to the parliamentarians that the COMSATS Executive Director (ED) Junaid Zaidi has prepared the COMSATS Bill 2017 for self-benefit, as the interests of over 8,000 employees have been totally ignored.
They appealed to the chief justice of Pakistan, the president, prime minister and the opposition leaders in National Assembly and the Senate to take notice of the issue as thousands of employees are feeling insecure due to what they called a policy of ‘pick and choose’ by the CIIT administration.
They further said that on one hand employees are being sacked while on the other hand no action has been taken against those holding dual jobs in the university.
The affected employees demanded that NAB has already arrested 35 employees in Balochistan for dual jobs, so action should also be taken against them instead of terminating the contractual employees.
They also expressed apprehension about their future employment prospects because the proposed COMSATS bill to convert the institute into a full-fledged university also lacked a job guarantee for them, as the bill has no clear provisions for service structure and that how the existing faculty will be accommodated in the university.
Over the rising apprehension of the COMSATS faculty members, the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) requested the legislators to review the bill before passing from National Assembly, which was later deferred owing to a proposed amendment by Abdul Qahar Khan Wadan, an MNA from Balochistan.
The sacked employees also challenged the decision of their sacking in Islamabad High Court (IHC) and a petition has been filed in this regard.
Talking to Pakistan Today, a sacked employee named Israr said that his petition has been fixed for hearing on February 21, 2018, and expressed optimism that the decision would be in his favour because he was terminated unlawfully.
FAPUASA condemned this act and said that the terminations were sudden and did not follow the general rules for relieving staff.
The FAPUASA Islamabad head Dr Shehzad Ashraf Chaudhry also wrote a letter to the standing committee on federal education and professional training chairman and federal minister for science and technology for addressing grievances of the faculty members of the institute and removing lacunas in the proposed bill.
He stated that services of faculty members at the institute were being terminated in violation of rules and regulations and the present ad-hoc administration has terminated the employees on personal disliking.
The job protection of all existing COMSATS employees, who have invested their years of time and toil, must be ensured.
When contacted, COMSATS Executive Director Dr Junaid Zaidi said that the terminated employees should appeal to the COMSATS chancellor forthwith; hence they have the right of review. He instantly switched off his phone when asked about whether prior warnings and notices have been issued to the employees before sacking them.
However, when some questions were sent to him through WhatsApp, he called back after a while, and instead of giving answer to the questions, said that since the last one year, he did not have any direct association with the institute so it will be better to talk to Acting Director Professor Dr Raheel Qamar.
However, despite repeated attempts and text and WhatsApp messages, Raheel Qamar could not be reached for his comments on the issue.