Clash over powers sparks tensions at Peshawar University

Peshawar university VC

ISLAMABAD: Peshawar University finds itself embroiled in a power struggle between the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Pro VC) and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, intensifying concerns over the administrative and financial autonomy of the prestigious institution.

Reports suggest a state of administrative paralysis as the Pro VC and the Higher Education Archives & Libraries Department of KPK clash over crucial decision-making powers.

The conflict reached a tipping point when the Pro VC issued significant transfer orders for administrative officers and teaching staff on December 11 and 12, 2023.

Notably, some of these orders assigned dual charges to officers, accompanied by a 20 percent additional pay on the basic pay, potentially imposing a substantial financial burden on Peshawar University.

In response, the Higher Education Archives & Libraries Department of KPK sent a letter to the Registrar of Peshawar University on December 15, 2023, explicitly instructing the Pro VC and acting VCs not to make any major administrative or financial decisions.

KP restricts Pro-vice-chancellor’s decision making authority

The directive cited potential financial implications and difficulties for future VC office incumbents arising from such decisions.

Despite this clear directive, the Pro VC proceeded with significant transfer orders, prompting the Higher Education Department to request a report from the Registrar and the withdrawal of the aforementioned orders to avert any adverse consequences for future VC officeholders.

Dr. Mufti Muhammad Al-Tamas, Chairman of the Department of Islamic Studies, raised concerns in a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, urging action against what he deemed illegal transfer postings orchestrated by the Pro VC. Dr. Al-Tamas alleged favoritism towards relatives and specific officials in key positions by the Pro VC, disregarding the directives of the Higher Education Department.

The department intervened to prevent such decisions, emphasizing the potential long-term implications of major administrative and financial moves. The official warned of possible actions by the university senate and syndicate against the Pro VC if instructions were not followed.

In response, Pro VC Dr. Muhammad Saleem asserted that the decisions made were within the university’s purview and aligned with the University Act, granting full authority to the Pro VC. He defended the transfer postings, stating they were carried out based on officers’ requests and that there were no issues within the university.

As tensions escalate, the clash over administrative and financial powers raises critical questions about the future direction and stability of Peshawar University.

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