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'Dubious' entry in panel for KEMU pro-VC slot.

Byline: Asif Chaudhry

LAHORE -- Yet another controversy hit the King Edward Medical University as the health department moved a new summary to the chief minister, that included the name of a junior doctor for the slot of pro-vice chancellor.

The health department included the name of Prof Aamir Zeman Khan in the summary allegedly on the intervention of a high-profile official of the Punjab government paving the way for him to clinch the slot.

Among the panel of three, the department also recommended the names of former acting-vice chancellor Prof Dr Asad Aslam Khan and KEMU Registrar Prof Dr Irshad Hussain Qureshi, besides Dr Aamir.

Presently, Prof Qazi Saeed is the pro-vice chancellor of the KEMU and he is also holding the office of acting VC of the institute.

His term as pro-vice chancellor is going to expire on 13th March and under the laid down rules the department was to fill this position from among the senior most faculty members of the KEMU.

A senior official who is privy to the development told Dawn the transfer of Prof Aamir Zeman from the Fatima Jinnah Medical University (FJMU) and his inclusion in the summary for the KEMU top slot has caused concern among the senior faculty members.

Presently, he said, Prof Asad Aslam is the senior most faculty member of the KEMU, followed by Prof Qureshi, according to the revised seniority list of the health department.

He said the postings against the two top slots of the KEMU - VC and Pro-VC - remained controversial during the last couple years because of reported violations of seniority criteria and favouritism.

Presently, the KEMU faces a serious administrative crisis since the newly appointed vice-chancellor Prof Sultan Ayub Meo has not been assuming his charge for the last three months or so insisting on acceptance of certain demands including abolishing of the condition of four-month probation period from the agreement.

Working for a Saudi Arabia university, Prof Meo has thrice been given a chance to assume charge as regular VC of the institute, allegedly by the chief minister relaxing the policy.

In Prof Meo's absence, the post was being headed by Prof Qazi Saeed on a look-after basis for the last one year or so, the official said.

The official lamented that earlier the posting against the slot of KEMU pro-vice chancellor also remained controversial.

Giving details, he said Prof Faisal Masood assumed the charge of the varsity's regular VC in Feb, 2015. He said the health department summary sent to the Punjab government in March 2016 had recommended a panel of three senior doctors for the pro-VC slot as per the seniority criteria, comprising Prof Asad Aslam, Prof Irshad Qureshi and Prof Qazi Saeed. The CM approved Prof Asad Aslam for the slot, being senior most candidate.

The official said when the summary was moved to the Punjab governor for his signatures as a formality, it was sent back to the CM in a sudden move for amendment. Later, the government issued appointment order of Qazi Saeed as new pro-VC of the KEMU.

Prof Faisal Masood after expiry of his three-year tenure as VC in Feb 2017, gave charge of acting vice-chancellor to Qazi Saeed.

The health department, however, termed it a violation of seniority criterion and moved a summary to the chief minister for the appointment of Prof Asad Aslam as acting VC. After CM's approval, Prof Aslam was notified as acting VC and he assumed the charge.

However, the situation put the institution in an awkward position when Prof Qazi moved the Lahore High Court and got orders to head the institute as acting vice chancellor.

Prof Aslam left the office handing over the charge to Prof Saeed. A case was still pending in the Supreme Court regarding the violation of seniority in filling the slot.

The official said that as the term of Prof Saeed is going to expire next month, the new entry of Prof Aamir Zeman in the race for the Pro-VC slot has sparked a new controversy.

He said Prof Zeman who has strong connections in the Punjab bureaucracy was the potential candidate for the FJMU vice chancellor slot.

However, he said, after the appointment of Prof Khalid Masood Gondal as new VC of the FJMU, Prof Zeman was given an assurance that he would be considered for the KEMU slot.

His transfer from FJMU to KEMU as professor of surgery and inclusion in the summary for the Pro-VC slot was seen as part of the commitment made to him by the top authorities in the Punjab government, the official added.
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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Feb 19, 2018
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