MULTAN -  Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has ordered an inquest against the Vice Chancellor and nine other administrative officers and senior professors of Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) into corruption and abuse of power allegations, The Nation has learnt. Sources disclosed that a professor of the varsity Dr Muhammad Ishaq fani filed a 46-page application along with 600 pages of evidence, accusing the Vice Chancellor Prof Tahir Ameen, Registrar Dr Mutahir Iqbal, former Director of Distance Learning Programme Dr Azra Asghar Ali, former Dean Prof Dr Ayyaz Rana, Treasurer Dr Umar Farooq, Director Sahiwal Campus Dr Shafiq, Deputy Registrar Sohaib Rashid, Nasarullah and others of misappropriation and embezzlement of funds, misuse of authority and corruption.

The Chief Minister office has issued directions to the Secretary Higher Education Punjab vide letter No DS (SS)/CMO/17/OT-47/166219 to take action and submit report. 

“Chief Minister is pleased to desire that necessary action may please be taken as per rules and a report in this regards be submitted to this office for his information/orders at the earliest,” reads the letter signed by Ahmer Nike, a Deputy Secretary of CM office. 

The complainant Prof Ishaq Fani himself is facing two NAB and one anti-corruption cases besides multiple inquiries from the BZU administration on charges of corruption, embezzlement of funds and misuse of power. He is currently suspended from his office.

He accused in the application that the VC and other officers misappropriated millions of rupees by submitting fake TA/DA bills, received remuneration from Distance Learning Programme for teaching classes while the varsity was close due to security threat and granted development work contracts worth billions to blue-eyed contractors on much higher rates without tendering in clear violation of PPRA rules. He also alleged that an officer namely Sohaib Rashid with the connivance of Nasarullah embezzled millions from the funds provided by the government under Prime Minister Fee Reimbursement Scheme. 

Dr Fani further accused in his application that a Honda City car (MNJ-106) of BZU along with a driver namely Arshad was in personal service of VC’s daughter in Islamabad for the last two years. “The log book has been tempered and over Rs3 million has been spent on this car’s petrol and payment of salaries to the driver so far,” he continues in the application.

He claimed in his complaint the CM that the length of varsity’s boundary wall was shown 15 km in papers for the contract granted for its construction and installation of barbed wire due to security concerns. “But the actual length of the wall is 10.5km. “Kickbacks of millions of rupees were got from the contractors,” the application further reads.

Besides levelling the allegations of financial corruption, the complainant also raised the issue of poor governance, sale of drugs in BZU campus and absence of the VC from the varsity for prolonged periods.  He cited a report of Special Branch which disclosed sale and use of drugs in BZU, and another subsequent inquiry and its report from Dr Shoaib Anwar, Additional Secretary of Higher Education Department Punjab.  The inquiry report written by Dr Shoaib Anwar disclosed that the VC remained absent from his duty for four days every week, adding that the findings of the Special Branch report regarding sale and use of narcotics in BZU were correct.

When contacted, the spokesman of the BZU Dr Abdul Quddoos Sohaib contradicted all allegations levelled by Dr Ishaq Fani, declaring them concocted, fabricated and false. “He is an accused in two NAB cases, one anti-corruption inquiry and a BZU inquest. He is under suspension. Now he is trying to pressurise the varsity administration to influence the process of investigation against him,” he added. He said that the allegations of an accused had no legal substance in the law.  He insisted that the BZU administration fulfilled all legal requirements before granting contracts, recruiting faculty members or officials etc.