AAU fails to make new appointments, may face action by HEC


ISLAMABAD: Due to the alleged internal political wrangling and the weak decision making power of the Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University (AAU) Pro-Vice-Chancellor Dr Sarwat Mirza, the Selection Board has not held its meeting for the past two years, which is causing great resentment among the applicants applying for various posts since 2016.

Sources told Pakistan Today that the university advertised posts of a professor, associate professor, assistant professor and lecturer in April 2016 to fill the vacant positions in the university, but these have still not been filled.

The university charges the jobless aspirants heavily as each one has to pay Rs5000 (professor), Rs2500 (associate professor), Rs1500 (assistant professor) and Rs1000 (lecturer), respectively, despite which the Selection Board has not convened its meeting.

The sources said that the after two years, the validity of the advertisements will expire if the selection board does not take action.

“The university is all set to re-advertise the same posts because it is a good source of minting money because there is no one to hold the university administration accountable,” said a dejected candidate, who applied for the post associate professor some two years ago.

The candidate said that although there are around 200 vacant posts in the university and Higher Education Commission (HEC) has already threatened to close various programs due to acute shortage of permanent faculty members, even than the pro-VC is reluctant to the make the much-needed appointments.

“The HEC has 1:20 (one teacher and 20 students) formula for quality education, which is not practised in universities, as most of the departments in the universities are being run by visiting and contract based faculty members like in AAU.

A senior official at the university said that the HEC has banned AAU and Quaid Azam University for HEC one year Interim Programme (IPFP) because the PhD degree holders could not be adjusted after one year.

The official said that pro-VC has the power to call selection board Syndicate, but then he is wasting time because of his inability to exercise his legal authority.

“The pro-VC is hesitant to call the selection board meeting despite being the authority fearing of possible ramification he may face at the hand of a regular VC,” the official added.

“The pro-VC is part of the faculty; hence he could not take such courageous decision to call selection board meeting because of pressure from the colleagues as there is a lot of internal politics in the play disturbing the whole system in the university,” the official said.

The official said that the HEC Inspection team visited AAU a few days ago and checked all documents and details.

When contacted by Pakistan Today, AAU Registrar Aqeel Sultan said that the Selection Board meeting is not being called due to the non-appointment of a regular VC.

He said that Dr Sarwat has been given charge as pro-VC after the court verdict against the acting VC Rai Niaz, so in such situation, the Pro VC was mainly looking after the day to day affairs of the university and did not make major decisions.

However, he said that the pro-VC had to take vital decisions after consultation with the chancellor which is not happening.

To a question whether he had the power to take such decisions, he replied that there is no clarity whether he had any such power because the pro-VC was asked to look after the day to day affairs and not to make any major decisions.

However, he quickly added that the pro-VC had the legal authority to take such decisions, but he is avoiding making important appointments fearing that the regular VC might reverse his decisions.

“The Pro VC said that he would do it after consulting the chancellor, whom he met but he (the governor) has yet to give him any indication to call Selection Board meeting,” Aqeel added.

The registrar said that since the pro-VC is the professor of the university, he is avoiding to take any risk of being accused of appointing people on personal preferences.

To a question about expiry of the advertisement after two years, he said that there are no such rules and regulations in the AAU, but there are such rules in other universities.

He said that they would prefer to make appointments on the basis of the old advertisements to avoid unnecessary costs.