LAHORE - With the tenure of Dr Mujahid Kamran nearing its end, Punjab government is at sixes and sevens over the issue of appointing a new vice chancellor in Punjab University in the aftermath of sectarian feud between Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT) and Shia students. Sources in Punjab Higher Education Department (HED) said the sectarian clash had changed the scenario completely since the department wanted to appoint the senior-most professor after January 2, 2012. They said they were now reconsidering the appointment of a pro-JI acting VC till the appointment of a regular VC. On the other hand a sense of insecurity has erupted among the PU professors and students after the attack on Shia students by IJT and varsity’s faculty along with the Shia community is all set to launch a movement against Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif if a pro-Jamat-i-Islami faculty member is appointed the acting VC.
“Credentials of all 30 applicants are being considered thoroughly in the wake of the IJT attack,” sources said. Earlier this week, around 150 IJT activists carrying modern weapons including Kalashnikovs attacked around 30 shia students who had entered the varsity to celebrate Youm-e-Hussain. A number of shia students were injured and their parents were also tortured in the hospitals. According to a HED official, a detailed report of the incident was received by the HED in which varsity and agencies reviewed the matter. He said the names of Dr Saeed Akhtar, a professor in statistics and at the top on the seniority list and Professor Dr Khawaja Haris Rashid were being considered.
“According to our sources Dr Saeed Akhtar is a neutral man but he is not in a position to control the sectarian clashes and other issues while Dr Haris Rashid is himself a candidate for the seat so we are in search of a neutral man,” he said, adding that Dr Mujahid Kamran could also be asked to continue till the appointment of a regular VC and that the notification would be issued within this week after consultations with the CM. On the other hand the PU community is also expressing their concerns over the appointment of a pro-JI VC. “We are concerned about our security after the IJT attack. They were carrying weapons and our female staff members are especially concerned,” a professor said, asking not to be named, adding “most are considering leaving PU and joining a private university” and that the IJT activists had not even spared the professors and their families.
SHIA STUDENTS VACATE HOSTELS: “Over 300 shia students have vacated the hostels because they fear being attacked by the IJT activists,” a shia student asking not be named said, adding “how will the administration provide security for us when their own security guards are being kidnapped.” “We will launch an anti-CM protest all over the country if a pro-IJT VC is appointed,” he said. Fiza, another PU shia student said, “Members of a banned organisation that is responsible for killing shias all over the country are present in the hostels and has weapons also. We are hearing rumours that the CM is going to make an alliance with the Jamat-i-Islami and will appoint a pro-IJT VC. We are not sure what the future of Shias would be,” adding “it is a shame that the CM did not even care to ask about those who were harmed in the sectarian violence”.