Unfortunately, misappropriation of funds appears to be a miserable reality in our state of affairs today, with millions of rupees of funding often amounting to no results. It is even more unfortunate when misappropriation occurs in the path of education and learning, especially when there is a dearth of universities and colleges in the country. The recent revelation on misappropriation of funds in Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan is just another example of this sad reality.

According to official documents secured by Dawn, the 2016-17 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) budget had allocated Rs. 200 million for the construction of the academic block on the AWKU’s Buner campus, which was supposed to be upgraded to the University of Buner, when Dr Ihsan Ali was the university’s vice-chancellor. The government had released Rs80 million for the purpose, however there has been no update on any construction for the campus. The intended construction of the campus is meant to cater to 2,050 students; which is no fast feat, thus should indicate that work of construction is being done swiftly. However, reports indicate that work has been stopped since March 2017. It appears that the university spent a meagre amount to lay the academic block’s foundation misappropriating the rest.

As it always is in these cases, it is the students who will suffer the most. It is important to bear in mind that this is not the first controversy that AWKU has been involved in. The university campus was the back drop for the brutal lynching of student Mashal Khan by his fellow students. It should not be forgotten that there was a discarding of responsibility of the incident by the university administration, which did not take proper action against those accused, with some even alleging the university administration to be complicit.

Nevertheless, this new revelation of misappropriation of funds, as well as the previous disturbing incidents which have occurred on the campus, indicates a serious mismanagement issue with the university’s administration. A report presented by the monitoring and evaluation directorate of the provincial planning and development department recommends taking action against the officials responsible for the misappropriation, and to direct AWKU to hand over the records of the Buner varsity, which it has so far refused to do. To reset AWKU as a well-reputed learning institute which is safe and productive for its students, and to set a deterrent against mismanagement of educational funds, there needs to be action against the responsible administration.