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Punjab University’s ex-VC Appearing Handcuffed in Court Raises an Outcry

Punjab University’s ex-VC Appearing Handcuffed in Court Raises an Outcry

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National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chief, Justice Javed Iqbal and Chief Justice Pakistan, Saqib Nisar have taken notice of and ordered action against the officials who brought Punjab University administration members to the court in handcuffs. 

Punjab University ex-vice chancellor Dr Mujahid Kamran and four other former administration officials were arrested on Thursday over allegations of corruption, illegal appointments and nepotism. The officials arrested were two former registrars, Prof Dr Raas Masood and Prof Dr Liaqat Ali and two additional registrars Prof Dr Aurangzaib Alamgir and Prof Dr Kamran Abid. Dr.Kamran is being investigated in connection to illegal appointments and the violation of procurement rules in his four-year tenure at PU.

Collectively, the five administrative members are facing charges for 550 illegal appointments, mostly grade 17 and above between 2013 and 2016.

According to Dawn, NAB had also arrested six officials of the University of Sargodha (UoS), including its former VC Muhammad Akram, registrar Rao Jameel, chief executive of Mandi Bahauddin campus Waris and his partner Naeem in illegal campuses case. They face a charge of minting millions from students by establishing the campuses.

It certainly appears that the government is cracking down on nepotism in the education sector. Perhaps, it is safe to say that the state of education in Pakistan is problematic because there is no accountability of administrative personnel in how they conduct the day to day operations of public universities, particularly when it comes to making appointments on merit. So the investigations are definitely warranted.

However, the fact that an educationist was furbished in court handcuffed is a terrible precedent to set. 

The handcuffing was an affront to the clear instructions not to tarnish the self-respect of anyone arrested in the case. Whatever the charge is against the professor, the humiliation of a sort that they he was subjected to is not warranted. Especially since the case is ongoing and no charge has been proven affirmatively.

The Chief Justice, Mian Saqib Nisar has also taken suo-moto notice of the disgraceful way the Professor Kamran was brought to court. The director general and the deputy inspector general (DIG) operations for NAB have also been called to present themselves before the court for further investigations.

Let’s hope strict action follows against the officials responsible for this senseless humiliation.

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