Hassam ud Din
Peshawar University Teachers Association (PUTA), pressing the governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to immediately dismiss the vice-chancellor of the university, has threatened to keep the varsity closed until a new vice-chancellor is appointed.
In its letter sent to the governor, the teachers’ union has complained that the present vice-chancellor awards his favorite people and ignores the rightful ones, which is having an impact on the students, and by appointing juniors in key positions instead of seniors, a message has been given that whoever submits to the vice chancellor will get a share while the rest will not get any right.
The letter said that at present senior and genuine teachers are deprived of even government accommodation and due to the encroachment, these genuine teachers are living in rented houses.
The letter demanded of the governor to save the future of fourteen thousand students studying at the university.
Text of the letter sent to the Governor
On the third day of the killing of security in-charge Saqleen Bangash, PUTA sent a letter to the governor demanding the dismissal of the vice-chancellor Prof. Dr. Idrees Khan, alleging that the vice-chancellor is involved in malpractice and corruption.
Holding the university administration responsible for the deteriorating security, the letter stressed the need for a transparent investigation into the murder of Saqlain Bangash.
The teachers’ association, in its letter, levels a series of serious allegations against the Vice-Chancellor, including altering the minutes of the syndicate meetings, violating the Uni Act, transferring deans and chairmen illegally and forcibly, not issuing NOCs for the faculty members going on foreign tours, an illegal cut on salaries, while not giving allowances, wasting funds, distributing houses among the favorite employees, and hindering the appointment of teachers illegally.
The main reasons behind the closure of Varsity
Peshawar University has been closed since 6 March after the security in-charge of the university, Saqlain Bangash, was shot dead by a security guard.
After the incident, PUTA boycotted the classes, calling the security arrangements inadequate. It said that the University’s PUTA hall, car parking, guest house, etc generates an annual income of 30 to 35 million rupees, which the administration considers to be the property of the university and issued an order to hand over to the university administration.
On the other hand, according to the Peshawar University administration, due to the financial crisis, local telephone bills are not being paid for teachers’ houses, while a mobile allowance is given.
Professor Jameel Ahmad Chitrali… an important reason
According to the inquiry report of the Governor’s Inspection Team against the former President of PUTA, Professor Jameel Chitrali has been found involved in various types of irregularities, and he is associated with a certain political party.
This inquiry report has been sent to the Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa recommending action against Professor Jameel Chitrali.
The report states that Dr. Jameel Chitrali, reportedly, has been causing criticizing the sacrifices of the Pakistani army for the country on social media and mocking the ideology of Pakistan, he has also visited 24 different countries at the expense of the University by using his political influence for the issuance of NOCs for the said purpose.
Increase in salaries and allowances
The main reason for the tensions at the university is that the salary increase of 550 teachers of the university, approved by the government last year in the budget, is not being implemented.
When contacted in this regard, the General Secretary of PUTA, Dr. Sulaiman Khan, said that ad-hoc allowances, DRAs are not being received by the teachers, while the strong and empowered syndicate of the university had decided that the employees should be given their due right.
Dr. Sulaiman said the vice-chancellor and registrar of the university have made it impossible for the teachers to live.
He said that vice chancellor Dr. Idrees Khan, violating the rules, has transferred Dr. Noor Sanauddin, Professor of the Sociology Department to the Regional Studies Department and Dr. Kashif of the Chemistry Department to the Environmental Sciences Department based on personal enmity.
He said Scholarships worth millions of rupees, approved by the Higher Education Commission, are also withheld, while no teacher gets Rs 5,000 monthly allowance approved by the government.
He alleged that the Vice-Chancellor is a weak administrator who cannot run the university, so the government must immediately sack him and appoint a new Vice-Chancellor, otherwise, the university will remain closed.
In response to a question, he said that the time and future of students will not be wasted.
Stopping exams, expelling students from the center
In this conflict, thousands of students are facing serious problems, a large number of whom are living in hostels.
Among these students, the students from North and South Waziristan, Chitral, and other districts were given papers in the English Department on March 13. However, the teachers, associated with Puta, forced them to leave the hall.
The examinations at the Mathematics Department of Peshawar University on March 13 have been canceled due to the closure of the university by the teachers.
Student Fawad (pseudonym) while talking to TNN said that his final term exams were scheduled on March 13 which could not be held due to this dispute and thus students’ time is being wasted.
A student of the chemistry department, on the condition of anonymity, said that his annual exams are scheduled to be held on March 20, but due to the closure of the university for two weeks, he is not sure whether these exams will be held or not because classes, and at the same time the laboratories, are also closed halting their research work.
Aftab Alam, the Nazim (leader) of the Islami Jamiat e Talaba, said that after the second murder incident in a fortnight at the university campus, they set up a camp to demand improved security arrangements. However, he said they were not in favor of closing classes as boycotting classes and postponement of exams would be the biggest loss of thousands of students, and they did not want their future to be bleak.
Aftab Alam said the teachers who are not in PUTA are afraid of paying the price of not supporting it because a number of PUTA teachers are currently in syndicates and other bodies which means consequences for them. The teachers of PUTA do not even care about the future of students for the sake of their own interests, while the employees of Class IV and three have also supported PUTA in the boycott.
Peshawar University Vice Chancellor’s narration
When contacted, Professor Dr. Idrees Khan, Vice-Chancellor of Peshawar University told TNN that the teachers’ organization has taken the university hostage, they do not care about the future of students.
He said that in the investigation of the Provincial Investigation Team (PIT), corruption of 1500 million rupees has come to light, in which they have recovered 800 million rupees. In these investigations, it has been revealed that twenty assistant professors were recruited on forged documents.
The VC said that his primary objective is to fire these fake teachers.
Regarding Dr. Jameel Chitrali, he said that in the investigation of the JIT team formed by the government, four serious charges have been proven against him, a matter the administration will decide soon. Boycotting and closing the university is a ploy to save these fake teachers but we are not going to be afraid of anyone.
The VC said that in the meeting of the senate, it has been decided to hand over the property of PUTA to the university administration. PUTA cannot blackmail the government and university administration.
He made it clear that under the University Services Rules, he would not pay even one rupee to the boycotting employees.
The Vice-Chancellor claimed PUTA is after him only because in the syndicate he spoke against the leading professor of PUTA, who had 92% plagiarism in his Ph.D.,
He said that no funds have been released to the university yet, “However, I also made it clear in the syndicate meeting that when the funds are released, the salaries of the employees will be increased.”
The Vice-Chancellor said the children of 4,000 employees and teachers receive free education at their schools, costing the university’s treasury an annual loss of 30 million rupees.
The Vice-Chancellor explained that when he assumed charge in 2020, the university was in debt of 669 million, he took 1700 million and surplus from the federal and provincial governments to put the university back on track.
He informed the university administration has decided to start educational activities this week.
This tug-of-war between the Vice Chancellor and the teachers’ organization is not going anywhere, while the students of the university are constantly worried about the uncertain fate of their ongoing academic year.