–Ammar Ali Jan claims varsity admin called him ‘trouble maker’ for urging students to think critically
–PU VC Dr Zakria Zakir denies ‘firing’ professor, says Ammar’s contract ended last year
LAHORE: An assistant professor of the Punjab University on Saturday claimed that his services have been terminated by the administration due to his “increased engagement” with students groups, however the varsity’s vice chancellor has denied the charge.
Ammar Ali Jan, an active socio-political activist and assistant professor at Punjab University, told Pakistan Today that the university administration always had a problem with him for highlighting various social issues, including sexual harassment.
“The university termed me a ‘trouble maker’ for urging students to think critically and speak up against social injustices,” he said.
In his social media post earlier in the day, Ammar Ali Jan claimed that he was told by the university’s management that he paid too much attention to “non-issues” like women empowerment and racial profiling, which could be detrimental to “peace” on campus. He was also told by certain quarters that he should stay away from Manzoor Pashteen and the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), otherwise he will face “dire consequences”, he added in the post shared on Facebook.
“There were certain factions in the administration who thought if I discuss racial profiling with students, it would be a threat to national integration,” he claimed.
Ammar told Pakistan Today that the university has “fired” him now because they didn’t want anyone to get vocal about the administration handing over its prime two kanals of land to a religious party on the government’s order and the conflicts that have erupted within certain quarters in the allocation of the land.
“The varsity is using my stance of favouring Manzoor Pashteen to justify dismissing me as there are certain groups who think Pashteen propagates ‘anti-state narrative’”, he added.
However, PU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Zakria Zakir told Pakistan Today that Ammar Ali Jan was no longer a faculty member as his contract had not been renewed in January.
“The university can’t fire someone who is not its employee to begin with,” he said, denying that the assistant professor had any office in the campus.
“Ammar used to have a cup of tea with certain students which was disdained by other students as they thought the other group might get better grades because of this,” he remarked.
Ammar denied the VC’s stance, saying that the administration had sent his contract for the renewal.
“I was teaching six courses and supervising PhD students,” he claimed.
Another PU’s professor also denied the VC’s stance, saying that Ammar had his own office at the campus.
“I am surprised that the VC could think that the grades can be decided over a cup of tea,” he said, adding that there are many professors waiting for their contracts to be renewed.
“Contracts are renewed on cyclic basis and in between university can’t fire anyone unless they have formed a fact-finding commission to probe into complaints they have received,” he added.