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Inquiry Initiated Against Sorgodha University VC For Corruption Allegations

In the pursuant of inquiry conducted by Punjab Chief Minister’s Inquiry Team regarding complaint against Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad, VC University of Sargodha, on the allegation of illegal appointments and involvement in corruption, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has notified a three-member hearing team to conduct personal hearing of the VC.

According to the notification, issued on January 2, 2020, the Higher Education Department of Punjab has appointed Irum Bukhari, additional chief secretary (Energy) as the hearing officer.

A three-member hearing team comprises Additional Chief Secretary (Energy) Irum Bukhari, Additional Chief Secretary Agriculture and Rural Economy Arif Baloch and Managing Director Board of Management PPRA Shahid Hussain.

“The Chief Minister has been pleased to appoint Hrs Irum Bukhari, Ddditional Chief Secretary (Energy), Government of the Punjab, as Hearing Officer to afford an opportunity of personal hearing to Dr Ishtiaq , Vice Chancellor, University of Sargodha,” the notification states.

The team will interrogate University of Sargodha Vice Chancellor Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad over charges of misconduct, corruption, misuse of authority and illegal appointments, Naya Daur has learnt.

Earlier, Services & General Administration Department (Services Wing) had forwarded a summary to Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar containing three names of top most bureaucrats recommending probe into charges against Dr Ishtiaq.

In November, Secretary Higher Education Department (HED) had submitted a summary to Punjab chief minister for the appointment of hearing officers. Upon this chief minister Punjab issued orders to the Services Wing for names.

Upon appointment of hearing officers, a show cause will be issued to Dr Ishtiaq on the charges of corruption, illegal appointments, misuse of authority and non- observation of orders of the Auditor General of Pakistan and Higher Education Department in illegal appointments case.

It is to mention here that the Chief Minister Punjab’s Inspection Team alleging corruption scandal and illegal appointments has been discussed on media.

This news is scanned of the recommendations of Chief Minister’s Inspection Team (CMIT) submitted to the Chief Minister Punjab.  The CMIT thoroughly investigated the allegations against the incumbent Vice Chancellor.

The CMIT was formed on the complaint lodged by Muhammad Tariq Qureshi, chairman ‘University Bachao Tehrik’ and a local resident.

According to documents available with this correspondent, about 150 illegal appointments were made in contravention to Clause 7 of the University of Sargodha’s Employees Service Statutes 2006.

The CMIT report states that Manager Khushaab Water Javed Iqbal Jaidi, Web Developer Tahir Umar, Head Security Guard/ Assistant Security Officer Hamza Aftab, Assistant Director Academics (BS-17) Mehr Muhammad Mohsin, Assistant Director (BS-17) Maryam Gull, Legal Advisor High Court Saad Rasool, Legal Advisor Supreme Court Zaheer Bashir Anasari, PICS Director (BS-21) Fazalur Rehman and many others were appointed without advertising the posts.

The report reveals that in some cases not only the criteria/ Statutes were not approved but also the posts were not advertised in two national dailies, which is a complusion of the University rules and regulations.

The Member CMIT denoted that the Governor/ Chancellor in his order dated 25/5/2018 has already given stricture against the VC that he did not know the rules governing the University, but he did not pay heed and committed misuse of authority in number of cases.

He also extended patronage to the illegal appointees who were in his close circle and accomplices in corruption and maladministration. The CMIT noted that the latter two officers dodged the NAB and CMIT authorities while presenting the wrong data.

The report reveals that the VC did not have financial competency and lacked the acumen to run the University affairs. He, despite the spending of around Rs360 million on 200 bed-hospital and construction of state of the art University Medical Complex closed down the socially important project in the health sector without having third party validation and approval of the government.

A senior doctor, requested not to be named as he was not authorised to speak, said that this alone act was sufficient to remove the VC.

He said a socially benefiting health facility project of the University was closed under the alleged influence of the private sector hospitals, adding that the Vice Chancellor had made numerous appointments, including his close friends, who lived in the Vice Chancellor House also.

The CMIT report has also questioned close down of Khush Aab Water project and Industrial Unit of the varsity without any cost-benefit analysis. This all happened due to the maladministration and poor management skills of Dr Ishtiaq.

The report recommended that the Punjab Higher Education Department should call for the detailed special audit of the varsity for the last two years of the incumbent VC to denude the entire set of irregularities.

It is to add here that the VC expended lavishly on his office, residence and vehicles against the orders of the Government to maintain austerity. The documents reveal that around Rs15 million were spent on the renovation of office and official residence of VC and his accomplices beyond their entitlement during the last two years.

This correspondent made repeated attempts to get Dr Ishtiaq’s view on the development and allegations against him, but he neither picked up the calls nor responded to messages and emails.

 

 

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