Selection board comprising Justice (R) Bhagwandas violates merit

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: At a time when the opposition leader in the National Assembly, Syed Khursheed Shah, has nominated the former acting Chief Justice of Pakistan Rana Bhagwandas for the post of Chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the documentary proofs show that the former justice has overlooked if not facilitated what can be termed as sheer violation of merit.

The documents available with The Frontier Post confirm that the selection board of Sindh Madressatul Islam University (SMIU), chaired by Vice Chancellor Dr Muhammad Ali Shaikh on March 28 this year, conducted interviews of the seven short listed candidates for the post of SMIU registrar, lying vacant since January 2013. Members of the selection board, including Justice (retired) Bhagwandas, former Cabinet Division secretary Abdul Waheed Kazi and Sindh Public Service Commission member Ramesh M. Udeshi, after interviewing the candidates, had recommended three names, including Gulzar Ahmed Mughal, Syed Imtiaz Ahmed and Azhar Ali Soomro in order of priority for the appointment. The priority list, which was subsequently approved by the SMIU syndicate only two days later, was however in clear violation of the recruitment criteria. In the advertisement published in the national press on February 3, 2013, the university clearly mentioned that a minimum of 15-year experience in responsible positions with “at least five years of service as deputy registrar at a university” was required. The experience record of Gulzar Ahmed Mughul, the person being placed at the top in priority shows that he had never held that position except for having being served as officiating register of the SMIU since January, 28 2013 – a two-month period when his name was recommended. Mughul was given the charge of officiating register after the SMIU vice chancellor Dr Shaikh, accepted the resignation of Muhammad Ishaq Lashari in violation of rules and regulations and gave the charge to Mughul without following the set rules and procedures. On the contrary those two deprived of the first position in priority list had sufficient experience of working in prestigious educational institutions.

Syed Imtiaz Ahmed was serving as deputy registrar at NED University of Engineering and Technology Karachi since March 2008. He was promoted from the post of assistant registrar, the position he held for nearly seven years since October 2001. The third candidate in priority list, Azhar Ali Soomro, was the deputy registrar at Institute of Business Administration (IBA) in Sukkar since December 2008.

SMIU Vice Chancellor, Dr Shaikh, however, sent the summary to Sindh Governor, Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan who is also the chancellor of public-sector universities, through Sindh Education department’s additional chief secretary on April 1, 2013. Dr Shaikh did not forget to attach the copy of the advertisement as well as the recommended candidates’ resumes in annexure.

“Since Mughal is vice chancellor’s blue-eyed boy, this all procedure were shammed to appoint him as the registrar,” said an official of the Sindh governor house while requesting anonymity.

Sources said is hard to believe that Justice Bhagwandas did not go through the recruitment criteria viz-a-viz the qualification of candidates before putting his signature on the priority list.;

Dr Muhammad Ali Shaikh, who hails from the city of Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah is said to be having close relations with former Sindh education ministers Syed Khursheed Shah and Pir Mazharul Haq.