Islamabad - President Mamnoon Hussain, on the advice of the prime minister, Thursday approved the appointment of vice chancellors/rector of three federal public sector universities.

The appointment of Prof. Dr Shahid Siddiqui was approved as Vice Chancellor of Allama Iqbal Open University, Prof. Javed Ashraf as Vice Chancellor of Quaid-i-Azam University and Prof. Dr Masoom Yasinzai as Rector of  International Islamic University.

The appointments were pending for more than seven months. A summary for the appointment of the heads of three varsities was forwarded to President Mamnoon Hussain last month. Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training had sent a panel of nine names short-listed to choose three.

A seven-member panel was tasked to conduct interviews of candidates for vice-chancellors for Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) and Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) and a rector for the International Islamic University (IIUI). The interviews were held between August 28 and 30 at the ministry.

Dr Shahid Siddiqi is a brother of Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on National Affairs Irfan Siddiqui. Dr Shahid Siddiqui has been Professor and Head of the Centre for Humanities & Social Sciences at the Lahore School of Economics. He obtained his Ph.D in Applied Linguistics from University of Toronto, Canada, M.Ed TESOL from University of Manchester, UK and MA English Literature from Pakistan. Pro. Javed Ashraf, who has been appointed, as QAU VC was interviewed by the panelists via Skype from Paris, France.

Dr Masoom Yasinzai whose appointment confirmed as IIUI Rector had already been holding the additional charge of IIUI rector for the last two years. He has served as QAU VC for four years.

The posts were advertised in December 2013 and a search committee was formed in October to interview the candidates. Later, a new committee was formed headed by Education Minister Balighur Rehman along with the education secretary, HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, former federal secretary Dr UAG Essani, former State Bank governor Dr Ishrat Hussain, COMSATS Rector Junaid Zaidi and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Public Service Commission member Dr Sara Safdar.