LAHORE: Punjab University (PU) Syndicate, on Wednesday, unanimously reaffirmed and endorsed its decision pertaining to the dismissal of Dr Iftikhar Baloch on charges of sexual harassment and showed its serious concerns over the intervention by National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Government Assurances in the PU affairs.
The 14-member top body of the varsity, representing all four cadres of teachers, Higher Education Commission (HEC), Punjab Assembly, academicians from outside PU and public representatives met on Wednesday to decide on the academic matters, in its first meeting following its election held recently.
During the meeting, a member pointed out that PU fell within the jurisdiction of Punjab Assembly because the provincial assembly had passed the Punjab University Act, and unnecessary intervention by a National Assembly committee in the affairs of PU was not justified.
The meeting showed very serious concern over a letter sent to Punjab Governor Latif Khosa by the NA Standing Committee on Government Assurance’s Chairman Mahmood Hayat Khan Tochi Khan recommending unanimously the suspension of PU Vice Chancellor (VC) Professor Dr Mujahid Kamran and stopping his salary besides requesting reinstatement of Dr Iftikhar Baloch and giving him all financial benefits from the date of his dismissal.
The members said that the DIG-level investigation had proved Dr Baloch guilty in the case and support to him by such a high-level committee of NA was astonishing and shocking for them.
The letter sent by the NA committee to the Punjab governor, a copy of which is available with Daily Times, states that “Punjab University vice chancellor appeared before the Standing Committee on Government Assurances on March 10, 2011. He was instructed by the committee to resolve the controversy surrounding Dr Iftikhar Baloch but instead of resolving the matter, the VC, in clear and blatant defiance of the committee, dismissed him from service on April 21, 2011.”
Those who attended the meeting included PU VC Professor Dr Mujahid Kamran, Punjab Assembly representative Speaker Khawaja Imran Nazir, HEC representative Razina Aalam, columnist Hassan Nisar, Maulana Raghib Naeemi and Ms Neelam.
From PU teacher cadre Professor Dr Shaukat Ali (professor’s representative), Professor Asmatullah (associate professor’s representative), Javed Sami (assistant professor’s representative) and Ms Shumaila (lectures’ representative) attended the meeting. It is noteworthy that Dr Baloch was director Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences and this issue remained a hot topic among academic circles of the country.
Efforts were made to approach the federal information minister and the Standing Committee on Government Assurances chairman but they were not available for comments.Daily times.