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Senior UHS board member resigns over issues with acting VC.

Byline: Asif Chaudhry

LAHORE -- The University of Health Sciences (UHS) suffered a blow on Tuesday when senior orthopaedic surgeon Prof Amir Aziz tendered his resignation as member of the board of governors.

The UHS had been experiencing internal rifts since the appointment of Prof Faisal Masood as the acting vice chancellor (VC). Prof Aziz alleged that Prof Masood's appointment to the post was one of the main reasons he was resigning in protest.

In his resignation letter sent to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, he mentioned that the appointment of Prof Masood was made in haste and against the norms. He also declared the process doubtful initiated for the appointment of a regular vice chancellor after Prof Masood took office.

'A locum VC was appointed in a hurry against the statutes of the UHS and afresh applications for the VC's slot were sought,' reads Prof Aziz's resignation letter, a copy of which is available with Dawn.

An official privy to the information said conflicts between the two senior medics, Prof Masood and Prof Aziz, seriously hampered the affairs of the varsity, which was already facing crises. Both medics had locked horns over the issues of action against former acting VC Prof Junaid Sarfraz Khan, shortage of senior faculty and stoppage of academic activities on the pretext of holding an entrance test.

The official said Prof Aziz had criticised Prof Masood over his failure to manage even a single meeting of the board during his tenure as the acting VC. For the first time in UHS, the shortage of senior faculty had reached such an alarming level that only three professors were left at the 17 total departments of the varsity to run its academic affairs.

The official was of the view that the sanctity of UHS was undermined after former acting VC Khan had been arrested along with some other officials of the varsity in a paper leak case.

'The whole commotion at the UHS has failed to produce any evidence about all the alleged malpractice. Unfortunately, people have been inappropriately locked up with no one to take responsibility for such extreme measures,' the resignation letter states.

Another issue that caused rifts between the two senior officials was the acting VC's decision to stop extracurricular affairs at the varsity, including seminars, workshops and conferences. Prof Masood's focus remained only on the holding of an entrance test and pursuing the paper leak scandal, the official said, adding that this was evident from the fact that admissions to MPhil were completed with a three-month delay this month.

Prof Aziz also criticised the health department for delaying the process of appointment of a regular VC just to let Dr Masood run the varsity on ad hoc basis for longer time. He mentioned in his resignation letter: 'The last date for applications for the VC's post was Nov 16, 2017. Three months have passed but the status quo persists.'

Prof Masood refused to comment on the allegations levelled by Prof Aziz. He however claimed that he had neither applied for the UHS top slot nor does he aspire to be a VC anywhere else.

Talking to Dawn, Prof Aziz lashed out at the acting VC and the health authorities, saying the former had earlier ruined King Edward Medical University as VC. He was also wrongly appointed the head of Human Organ Transplant Authority, Prof Aziz alleged.

'In the absence of UHS Board of Governors Chairman Ishaq Dar, Dr Masood, Prof Zohra and Prof Waris Farooka were running everything and the rules have gone out the window,' alleged Prof Aziz.
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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Mar 14, 2018
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