LAHORE - The Higher Education Department (HED) has sought nod of the Punjab governor to appoint vice chancellors in two of the public sector universities, sources said on Wednesday.

The chief minister has already approved names for two educational institutions - University of Sargodha (UOS) and Lahore College for Women University (LCWU).

While in case of the University of Punjab, the sources said, as the committee was divided on one of the members on the panel - Dr Mujahid Kamran - the HED sought approval in the summary to refer the case to the search committee. If the CM agrees with this proposal, the case will be forwarded to the search committee once again.

It would be up to the committee to either send a new panel or re-advertise the slot. Otherwise, the CM himself may use his powers to finalise one of the names out of the given lot.

The members of Search Committee were divided over the name of former PU VC while two candidates forwarded in the summary to the CM were incumbent PU VC Dr Zaffar Mueen Nasar and Dr Zakria Zakir. The committee chairman and noted industrialist, Syed Babar Ali, and one of the senior members Dr Safar Iqbal Quraishi opposed Dr Mujahid Kamran for the third time as VC while other two members Dr Nizamuddin and Finance Minister Dr Aysha Ghous Pasha supported Dr Kamran.

Dr Zakir faces allegations regarding his role in the selection board where her wife was also a candidate in his own department.

Last year, the Punjab government had finally approved summaries for the VCs that include LCWU and UOS. Dr Uzma Quraishi for the women university while Dr Ishtiaq for the Sargodha University. After that the process was stopped because of the litigation in the Lahore High Court. After long proceedings, the court directed the Punjab government to appoint the VCs in the said universities from the panel of professors finalised by the search committees.

“As the authorities had already approved names for the two universities the HED wanted them to notify,” said an officer of the department, requesting anonymity.

When asked whether the chancellor will approve their names as some representations were still pending with the Governor Office on some finalised names, the officer said: “It was up to the competent authority.” However, he confirmed that it would be better to decide on the representations first because some serious allegations were pointed out in these representations to the HED secretary. He said that if such things were not addressed properly on time, more litigation would spoil rich time of the institutions of learning.

Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif had interviewed candidates for the PU, LCWU , (UOS) and Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Engineering & Technology (MNS-UET) Multan. Of all the candidates evaluated by the VC Search Committee, Prof Dr Shahida Hasnain, a candidate for VC LCWU , and Prof Dr Mohammad Zubair, a candidate for (MNS-UET) Multan, scored the maximum.

Dr Uzma Quraishi and Dr Rukhsana Kausar were on the second position for the post of VC LCWU . The CM office had approved Dr Quraishi’s name for the top varsity slot.

Out of three candidates finalised by the search committee, Prof Dr Tahir Kamran was on the top while Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad and Dr Zafar Mueen Nasar on the second and third positions.

The competent authority had approved Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad’s name for the UOS VCship.

In the Information Technology University (ITU) Lahore, Women University Multan and Ghazi University, Dera Ghazi Khan the tenures of the VCs has already expired while the administration had removed Ghazi University VC Dr Muhammad Khalique Ahmed for violating the rules. The University of Home Economics Lahore, University of Sahiwal, University of Okara and the University of Jhang are also without regular VCs. The posts of the VCs at these universities would be advertised after approval of the competent authority.