LAHORE - An inquiry committee constituted by the chief minister to examine the representation of former VC Dr Rukhsana Kausar against the eligibility of the incumbent Lahore College for Women University VC Dr Uzma Qureshi for vice chancellorship met here the other day.

The committee consists of Dr Zafar Iqbal Qureshi from LUMS, Dr Mohammad Nizamuddin (chairperson of the Punjab Higher Education Commission), Higher Education Department Secretary Naseem Nawaz and Information Technology University VC Dr Umar Saif.

Dr Rukhsana claims in her representation that Dr Uzma has only eight recognised publications, while a candidate for vice chancellorship is required to have published at least 15 papers .

Three of the four members of the inquiry committee are from the same search committee, which had declared Dr Uzma eligible for vice chancellorship despite the fact that she did not have the required number of HEC-recognised publications. Fourth member of the committee, Dr Umar Saif, is on an interview panel with the chief minister and he did not attend the latest meeting.

Sources said that Dr Uzma was not only short of HEC-recognised publications; some of her articles had yet to be published. She said that some papers mentioned by Dr Uzma did not even exist.

The Lahore High Court (LHC) has referred the case to Punjab Governor Rafique Rajwana to decide as per the law. The committee could not decide the matter within the time prescribed by Chief Minister’s Office.

Requesting anonymity, an HED official said the department didn’t want to open Pandora’s Box of verification of research publications of professors and vice chancellors. He said there were multiple complaints pending with the department about this issue. He said that universities promoted many teachers to the rank of professor despite the fact that they didn’t meet the criteria. He said that candidates could approach the courts of law for justice.

HED Secretary Naseem Nawaz and Dr Umar Saif were not available for comments on the issue.