The removal of vice-chancellor of Fata University in an extremely unusual manner has invited criticism of the academic circles and the representative bodies of teaching community have pledged to resist the decision.
Prof Dr Shafiqur Rahman, a senior professor at the University of Peshawar, was appointed vice-chancellor-cum-project director of the first-ever university for Federally Administered Tribal Areas on January 23 this year after a long-drawn recruitment process. But on March 7 – exactly 43 days later – when he was about to attend a meeting at the Fata Secretariat, he was told that he was no more the vice-chancellor.
Establishment of a university in Fata was announced in May 2012. It took nine months to have a vice-chancellor for the university only to be removed in an extremely odd manner. The university is being set up at Akhurwal area of the semi-tribal region of Darra Adamkhel.
When contacted Prof Dr Shafiq told The News: “I was about to hold a meeting with the secretary concerned where I was told that the governor had asked him to discontinue as vice-chancellor. Considering the meeting meaningless then, I left the secretariat.” But till now no notification could be issued due to which neither I can relieve myself of the Fata University nor can I rejoin my own university,” he added.
According to sources, the bureaucratic set-up both at the Fata as well as Governor’s Secretariat had not accepted Dr Shafiq as vice-chancellor since day one. They were more interested in getting a man from their own community to hold the office. The sources said a former bureaucrat has been selected for the office. However, formal notification is yet to be issued.
This correspondent made every effort to get version from the officials concerned at the Fata Secretariat but to no avail. A recipient of the cell phone of the additional chief secretary of Fata Dr Tashfeen said he (Tashfeen) was out for a walk and would return after 30-40 minutes. But then he remained inaccessible till filing this report.
Fata Secretary Administration and Coordination Munir Azam was reached on his phone but he said he was not the right person to talk on the issue and this reporter should better approach Secretary Social Sector Aftab Akbar Durrani, a man, who too could not be accessed on all his possible contacts.
Dr Shafiq said that he had taken over the charge as vice-chancellor on the very next day of his appointment. But to date he was not given any office, driver, phone or any other facility, he deplored.
I had my own car and driver during this time. I remained without office. No cooperation was extended to me. I was not allowed to meet top officials at the secretariat. I sent several requests for meeting with the governor to give him a briefing about the university and my meeting had been fixed for the second week of March. But before that I was sacked,” he said adding the way he was removed was not justifiable by any means and he would move court against it, once he get a formal notification.
Meanwhile, Peshawar University Teachers Association (PUTA) condemned the decision. President of the association Jamil Ahmad said the act was tantamount to humiliation of a senior professor at the hands of bureaucrat and they would not allow it. He said Dr Shafiqur Rahman was a senior and respectable professor of the University of Peshawar and they would accord warmest welcome to him on rejoining the university.