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October 12, 2018

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NAB arrests former PU VC over illegal appointments

LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday arrested Punjab University’s former VC Dr Mujahid Kamran and four former registrars in connection with over 500 alleged illegal appointments in Grade 17 and above.

Mujahid is currently working as the University of Lahore’s rector. The other arrested persons are former registrars of Punjab University Dr Aurangzeb Alamgir, Dr Liaqat Ali, Dr Raas Masood and Dr Amin Athar as well as additional registrar Dr Kamran Abid. It is pertinent to mention that as per “The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019”, the Punjab University doesn’t fall in first 1,000 university world ranking in terms of quality teachers.

The NAB had initiated an inquiry in alleged illegal appointments on the directions of the Lahore High Court (LHC) after a complaint was moved by Muhammad Rafique Alvi, a former varsity student.

The complaint forwarded to NAB through the LHC judgment dated Oct 27, 2016 levelled a series of allegations. It says the former VC allegedly in connivance with the above-mentioned registrars from 2013 to 2016 made 550 illegal appointments in the university in Grade 17, 18 and 19.

The appointments were made on contractual basis and were renewed after the expiry of the contract and a majority was regularised later in phases.

As per the complainant, Kamran used emergency powers for alleged illegal appointments. However, as per the judgment of LHC judge Allah Nawaz, emergency powers are defined as war, natural calamity or in case meeting of syndicate could not take place physically. Furthermore, the complainant elaborated that no above situation was there which could allow the VC to use emergency powers.

It is also alleged that most of illegal appointments were political in nature and the former VC accommodated his own cronies in the process. He also exercised his emergency powers for handing over 305 kanals of Punjab University land to the Punjab government for construction of Canal Karim Park. Moreover, six kanals of the varsity’s Jhelum Campus were handed over to Rani Ghee Mills illegally, the complaint alleged.

Sources have alleged that many political bigwigs and top journalists got their friends appointed through Kamran. When asked how the former VC got approval from the syndicate for illegal appointments, the sources said it wasn’t a big deal in the presence of political representative and higher education, finance and law secretaries in the syndicate.

Moreover, Kamran is also accused of being responsible for the illegal appointment of his wife Shazia Qureshi as the principal of Punjab University Law College and for awarding scholarships to students through favouritism and nepotism. They said the accused would be produced before an accountability court by the NAB officials on Friday (today) to get their physical remand.

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