PESHAWAR: A lawmaker from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Friday threatened to boycott the provincial assembly unless the government resolves the issue of the vice chancellor at the Swat University immediately.
Dr Haider Ali, who hails from Swat, told the Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) assembly the Swat University had been running without a vice chancellor for the past six months with the matter deadlocked between the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government and province’s governor.
He contended that the chief minister had finalised a name for appointing as the VC of the university, however, the governor was refusing to appoint the nominee.
The K-P University (Amendment) Act is not applicable to areas such as the Malakand Division, which fall under the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA). Since Swat is located in PATA, the act does not apply to the Swat University.
The Swat University, thus, operates under its own regulations which were framed and implemented in 2010. These rules stipulate that the chancellor or the provincial governor has to select the VC from a panel of three finalised by the VC search committee. Under the K-P University Amendment Act, the power to appoint a VC is vested in the chief minister who has to select one from a list of three names finalised by the search committee and the governor or chancellor has to approve the recommendation.
K-P Chief Minister Pervez Khattak wants his selected nominee to be appointed as the VC. However, K-P Governor Zafar Iqbal Jhagra is adamant on selecting another person from the three names sent by the search committee, rejecting the CM’s nominee.
Advisor to Chief Minister for Higher Education Mushtaq Ghani told the house on Friday that K-P University Act does not extend to PATA areas and the university is working per its regulations.
“We will sit with the chief minister to resolve the issue within a week,” he explained, adding that the K-P Law department and the advocate general have different opinions on the subject since the matter is complex.
Dr Ali, however, termed the regulations of Swat University as “redundant,” and told the house that after the 18th amendment education was purely a provincial subject. The governor, being the representative of the federal government, should not have any authority to intrude in it.
He repeatedly asked the house to play its role in resolving the issue and said, “we have passed a joint resolution on the subject but it is still the same (unresolved).”
“We, the lawmakers of Malakand Division, can make legislation for the province but not for our own Malakand division,” Dr Ali complained, adding, “my presence in the house is useless if this house cannot resolve our issues.”
He accused the federal government of trying to treat PATA like the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
Lawmakers Shaukat Yousafzai and Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Housing Dr Amjad Ali, who were flanking Dr Ali, backed the Swat lawmaker’s stance demanding a resolution to the issue.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2017.