LHC to take up contempt plea against Punjab govt

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The Lahore High Court (LHC) will take up a contempt plea filed against the Punjab government on Thursday (today) over the alleged violation of rules in the appointment of the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad vice chancellor.

Justice Sajid Mehmood Sethi will hear the case.

Earlier, Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan (former vice chancellor of University of Agriculture, Faisalabad) filed a contempt petition before the LHC, alleging that the said appointment had been made in clear violation of the directions of the high court.

Dr Khan stated that the high court had issued directives to the Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar to notify the person highest in merit against the slot of vice chancellor the university within a period of 15 days.

“This direction of the court was based on the recent rulings of the Supreme Court of Pakistan where, in order to minimise the political influence in the appointment of vice chancellors in public universities, the top court held that these appointments shall be made purely on merit, set by respective search committees,” he said.

“The Supreme Court also held that governments shall only appoint the person highest on merit as the vice chancellor of public sector universities in future,” the petitioner said.

Dr Iqrar submitted that he was the person highest on merit, but the government in violation of merit and directives the high court had appointed a person against the slot who was lowest on merit from amongst the three shortlisted candidates as the vice chancellor of the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.

The petitioner is a relative of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Punjab president Rana Sanaullah. According to Dr Khan, the actual reason for not appointing him as the vice chancellor despite being the highest on merit was his family ties with the PML-N leadership.

After hearing the arguments of the petitioner’s counsel Bilal Hasan Minto and Barrister Muhammad Saram Israr, the high court had issued contempt notices to the chief minister, Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, the chief secretary and the Agriculture secretary in the matter.

The high court had also issued directives to all these persons to bring complete record of appointment of vice chancellor of the University of Faisalabad on May 16.