LAHORE -  The Lahore High Court yesterday provisionally appointed acting vice chancellors of four universities, replacing the incumbents whose appointment had been challenged.

By virtue of the same order, permanent vice chancellors of other seven universities were made acting vice chancellors till the final decision on the appeal filed by the Punjab government against the single bench order.

On December 1, the court of Justice Shahid Karim declared illegal the appointments of the acting VCs – Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran of Punjab University, Prof Dr Uzma Qureshi of Lahore College for Women University, Prof Dr Nazra Sultana of University of Sargodha and Prof Dr Fazal Ahmad Khalid of Multan Nawaz Sharif University of Engineering and Technology.

Hearing the government appeal, an LHC division bench yesterday appointed the Punjab government nominees to provisionally hold the posts of VCs at four universities and adjourned hearing until January 12.

The bench, headed by Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, also directed the attorney general of Pakistan and advocate general to assist it over the constitutional question that whether the provincial governments were independent to appoint VCs or it was a federal subject.

The court selected Dr Zafar Moeen Nasr for Punjab University, Dr Uzma Qureshi for Lahore College for Women University, Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad for University of Sargodha and Dr Muhammad Zubair for Multan Nawaz Sharif University of Engineering and Technology.

The order shook the vice chancellors of all the universities as they held a meeting at Lahore Government College University to understand its implication and moot their future course of action.

Since LCWU VC Dr Uzma was remained on job, lawyer Saad Rasool claimed that with the consent of his clients, the error would be pointed out in the court to get it corrected.

“Chief Justice Mansoor Ali Shah clearly stated in the court that the current VCs should be removed and ordered to appoint those mentioned in the order,” he said when point to the name of Uzma in court order.

He said with the consent of his clients an application may be filed in the court in which the error will be pointed out praying for its correction.

He said that the Punjab government should issue notification to appoint the new VCs as court directed otherwise it would be contempt of court.

Senior advocate Aftab Bajwa, who also moved court against the LCWU VC, said that they would challenge the judgment in the Supreme Court.

One of the VCs. who participated in the meeting at GCU, said on anonymity said that they thought it was the role of the chancellor to appoint VCs, Pro-VCs, treasurer, controller and registrars even the deans in some cases.

Earlier, Additional Advocate General Shan Gull argued that the subject of education had been devolved to the provinces under the 18th Amendment thus the appointment of VCs fell within the provincial domain. He cited the Public Sector Universities (Amendment) Act, 2012.

He was of the view that the court should also hear those VCs whose permanent appointments ‘made provisional’. He claimed that the seven affected VCs, including Dr Mujahid Kamran, said they would challenge the order in the Supreme Court as they thought it an ex-party judgment”

Newly-appointed PU VC Dr Zafar Moeen Nasr has remained PIDE Director in Pakistan and now he is director of a US Offshore University at UAE. Dr Nasr just reached Pakistan and it is unclear whether he would join PU as VC or not. Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad is presently serving as Director School of International Relations at Quaid-i-Azam University of Islamabad. He headed Pakistan chair at St Antony’s College Oxford University from 2010 to 2015.

College of Information Technology Principal Mansoor Sarwar, Dr Auranzeb Alamghir of Punjab University’s Zoology Department and others challenged the process for the appointment submitting that the Punjab Higher Education Department (HED) had no jurisdiction to appoint the vice chancellors.