As the six-week deadline set by the Supreme Court of Pakistan to appoint permanent vice chancellors in universities across Punjab approaches, Punjab Higher Education Department (HED) and Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) are racing against time to find suitable candidates.
Both government bodies have so far issued advertisements for vice chancellors’ seats in eight public universities of Punjab, with the hiring process for each position in a different stage of completion. As yet, the only real headway in the hiring process has been seen in the cases of Punjab University and University of Home Economics Lahore. The HED has received 101 applications against the VC’s post in Punjab University and 27 applications against the post lying vacant in University of Home Economics.
The department has forwarded the candidate lists and CVs to the PHEC for further scrutiny. Once that is complete, separate search committees for both universities will move ahead with the interview and shortlisting process, eventually forwarding three names to the chief minister. The CM will decide on one name each for VC’s appointment in the varsities, following which the HED will notify the appointment.
Certainly among the most prestigious education institutes in Pakistan, Punjab University has attracted a number of noted academicians to vie for the VC’s position. Following are some of prominent ones.
Prof Dr Nasira Jabeen: The incumbent provisional VC Dr Nasira Jabeen took over charge of PU after the Supreme Court of Pakistan removed Dr Zakaria Zakar from the seat in April 2018. With her appointment, she became the first ever female vice chancellor of Punjab University. She is also dean of Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences and director of the Institute of Administrative Sciences.
Prof Dr Zakria Zakar: Another important name in the race is Dr Zakria Zakar, who was the provisional vice chancellor of the Punjab University before Dr Jabeen and was removed by Supreme Court. It is important to note that Dr Zakar was among the three final candidates shortlisted and proposed to the CM the last time the government made an attempt to appoint a permanent VC in the university.
Prof Dr Fazal Ahmad Khalid: He is the incumbent vice chancellor of University of Engineering and Technology (UET), Lahore and is being considered a strong candidate for the position as he is running the largest public engineering university of the province. Dr Khalid is also the recipient of the Sitara-i-Imtiaz.
Prof Dr Rukhsana Kausar: Prof Kausar is a senior academic who has served as the provisional VC at Lahore College for Women University. She also previously served at Punjab University as a professor and director of the Institute of Applied Psychology.
Dr Rauf-i-Azam: He is the present vice chancellor of University of Education, Lahore. However, he is considered of a way too junior rank to be appointed to the post.
Dr Farhat Saleemi: Dr Saleemi is serving as the vice chancellor of Government College Women University (GCWU), Sialkot. She has been serving at GCWU, Sialkot since 2014. Previously, she was dean of Faculty of Engineering, Technology and Management Sciences and Director Planning and Development at Lahore College for Women University, Lahore.
Prof Dr Niaz Ahmad Akhtar: Dr Akhtar is the incumbent vice chancellor of University of Engineering and Technology, Taxila.
Other names in the race include senior academics from within and outside Punjab University as well as some candidates from abroad, including Prof Dr Zafar Iqbal, Prof M Taqi Zahid Butt, Dr Mumtaz Akhtar and Prof Dr Rao Muhammad Afzal Khan. The first meeting of the search committee tasked with shortlisting candidates suited for appointment as the PU chief is expected to be held on the coming Saturday.
University of Home Economics
The applicants for the University of Home Economics include Prof Dr Samia Kalsoom, Prof Dr Rukhsana Kausar, Prof Dr Shagufta Naz, Farkhanda Manzoor, Prof Dr Robina Farooq, Salma Zaidi Syed, Prof Dr Tahira Aziz Mughal, Prof Dr Naureen Aziz Qureshi, Prof Dr Farah Malik, Prof Dr Ambreen Sagheer, Prof Dr Mumtaz Akhter, Prof Dr Rubeena Zakar, Dr Tahseen Mahmood Aslam, Dr Saleha Naghmi Habibullah; Prof Dr Nazra Sultana, Dr Rehana Asghar, Prof Dr Farah Khan, Uzaira Rafique, Dr Irfana Mariam, Kanwal Ameen, Dr Farah Kanwal, Dr Farhat Saleemi, Khalida Mussarat Khan, Dr Rukhsana Nadeem Bhutta, Prof Dr Kausar Malik and Dr Umbreen Javaid.
Other universities for which the process of hiring VCs in underway are Women University, Multan, Ghazi University, Dera Ghazi Khan, University of Okara, University of Jhang, University of Sahiwal and Information Technology University (ITU) Lahore. However, the advertisement for VC’s post in Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) Lahore has still not been published.