By Waqas Bajwa –
A look at the biggest public sector university in Sindh
The University of Sindh, the oldest university in the country and biggest public sector university of Sindh province, once witnessed the tremendously prosperous tenures of Allama I.I. Kazi, Ghulam Mustafa Shah, Shaikh Ayaz and Mazhar Siddiqi; now it witnesses crises and disaster in all fields.
Established in late fifties about 15 kilometers away from Hyderabad, located in the hilly area of Jamshoro on the bank of River Indus, the largest of the university buildings is now designated the Allama I.I. Kazi Campus.
Having 6 campuses, 4 law colleges and 74 degree and post graduate colleges including affiliated private institutions, the entire sprawl of the University of Sindh is now in tatters due to the rampant mismanagement, corruption, nepotism, allotment of lands to political persons and illegal appointments that have been going on for years.
In the last half decade, more than 600 people have illegally been appointed (from grades 1 to 20) without following proper procedure and university rules. Many of these appointees are the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and wives of university officers, faculty members, powerful bureaucrats and journalists.
Former Vice Chancellor Dr. Nazir Mughal, now 84 years old, contravened the stated policy of the Sindh government by holding his post beyond his second and final tenure after it ended on April 8, 2014. He finally left when the Supreme Court of Pakistan issued orders against him.
Mr. Mughul, without having the legal and moral authority to do so, had hired the services of many retired officers at his own behest, officers who continue to retain their positions even after the doctor’s dismissal.
Two brothers of Vice Chancellor Mirpurkhas Campus, Imdad Ismaili, have been recruited in grade 18. The daughter of Siddiq Kalhoro, Vice Chancellor Badin Campus, has been recruited in grade 16. A close relative of Director Security Ghulam Muhammad Kaka is now employed in grade 16. Three sons of the former registrar Nawaz Narejo, Asif, Kashif and Aqib now hold grades 7, 16 and 14 respectively.
The son of senior journalist Naz Sahito of local TV channel KTN, two brothers of journalist Sharif Abro and the wife of Hakim Chandio, an office bearer of Jamshoro Press Club, a brother of Khawasti Brohi of Sindh Express, all appointed out of merit in a bid to buy their loyalty and have them keep their lips sealed on the corruption, nepotism and favouritism in the institution.
A one Azam Mallah, employee of BPS-16 of PTCL was also absorbed as a grade 18 university auditor on the recommendation of Faryal Talpur, PPP MNA and sister of PPP chairman Asif Zardari. But the most interesting and not at all ironic case is the appointment of Dr Arbila Agha, wife of former Deputy Commissioner Jamshoro, Agha Suhail, who presently works as Deputy Director Anti-Corruption Department Mirpurkhas.
The appointment of Dr Arbila Agha was made due to the close association of Vice Chancellor Nazir Mugul with Agha Suhail. The former Jamshoro Deputy Commissioner helped Mughal in selling hundreds of acres of university land to different ruling party higher-ups, including two MPAs Faqeer Dad Khoso and Dr Sikandar Shoro, both belonging to PPP.
Housing societies are being constructed on the sold out premises of the university which were legally allocated only for education purposes. According to records made available to this reporter, a special post of Medical Officer was created along with a small clinic to accommodate wife of former DC Agha Suhail at without any justification or need; ignoring the objections of many university syndicate members.
It is worth mentioning that a lady doctor was already working in the Marvi Hostel of the university and Liaquat Medical University Hospital (LMUH) existed to facilitate students and faculty, at no more distance than half a kilometer from the university lands.
Moreover, Dr Arbila Agha was appointed in grade 18 directly despite the fact that she possesses only an MBBS, whereas according to rules of services any graduate must be appointed in grade 17 first and work at least 7 years before promotion.
On April 20, 2011, following the orders of Supreme Court of Pakistan and Chancellor of Universities of Sindh, Governor Sindh Ishrat ul Ibad, the then registrar of the university terminated the services of five retired officers and announced the cessation of the practice of rehiring terminated officers through a notification.
But after the passage of only a few months, the services of Professor Dr Rais Ahmed, Muhammad Usman Mangi, Professor Allah Wasayo Rajar, Muhammad Yousif Pardesi, Qazi Khadim Hussain, Noor Afroz Khuwaja, Mrs Qamar Jahan Mirza were rehired, unlawfully and contrary to the will of Supreme Court.
When this reporter contacted the official spokesman of the university, Nadir Ali Mugheri, he refuted all these allegations, saying all the decisions regarding the recruitment in the university were made purely on merit. He said that Vice Chancellor was authorized to recruit the employees from grade 1 to grade grade 16 according to the institutions needs, to run the affairs of the university smoothly. In reply to a query regarding the hiring of services of retired persons, Mr. Mugheri told Pique that faculty members having PhD degrees had been given contracts in a bid to produce scholars on the campus as per the policy of the HEC.
Mr Mugheri refused to comment on the hiring of Dr. Agha and the encroachment and selling of university lands.
The writer is a journalist and researcher, based in Karachi