LAHORE  -  Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on Sunday ordered vice chancellors of three public sector universities to resign, observing that any appointment without transparency could not be tolerated.

Complying with the court orders the VCs of Fatima Jinnah Medical University, Faisalabad Medical University and Rawalpindi Medical University immediately resigned.

The top judge also suspended Lahore College for Women University’s vice chancellor Prof Dr Uzma Qureshi when she too was asked to resign but she confronted the court.

CJP Nisar passed these orders while hearing multiple suo motu notices at the Supreme Court Lahore registry on Sunday. Justice Ijazul Ahsan was the other member of the bench.

Taking up a case related to the human rights moved by a daily wages employee Fareeha Majeed at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC), the Supreme Court ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to hold an inquiry into financial affairs of the hospital.

Fareeha maintained that she had been working at the local purchase section of PIC as assistant pharmacist on daily work charge basis but she was removed from the job for identifying overbilling in the purchase and not signing the bills because of this.

The petitioner said former PIC medical superintendent Sohail Saqlain pressured her to sign the purchase bills and when she refused she was transferred.

“I lost my job in 2016 despite spotless service at the PIC,” said the woman. She told the bench that a member of board of management Afzal Bhatti was told about the corruption but he did nothing about it. Afzal Bhatti, who is a commissioner at Punjab Overseas Pakistani Commission, also appeared before the court.

The Chief Justice expressed serious concerns over deteriorating condition of the PIC.

Addressing Khwaja Ahmad Hassan, chairman of PIC board of management, the chief justice asked, “Have these things happened in your presence?”

“I wish to summon the chief minister here to show him what is happening in his government,” Justice Saqib remarked. He also addressed to Health Minister Khwaja Salman Rafiq who was present there in the courtroom.

Regarding appointment of overseas commissioner Afzaal Bhatti against a monthly salary of Rs550,000, the CJP sought complete record of his case. The chief justice asked, “How he is getting so much salary when the principal officer of the province is getting much less than that?”

The court also placed name of Punjab Overseas Pakistanis Commission’s commissioner on exit control list. The court ordered the NAB to hold an inquiry into the financial affairs of the PIC and summoned the bureau’s Punjab director general Saleem Shahzad next week.

Dr Uzma’s case

In the case of Prof Dr Uzma Qureshi, the CJP asked her about interior minister Ahsan Iqbal’s role in her job. She said that her appointment as VC was made without any political interference or ground. But the CJP remarked that the court had the complete knowledge about the role of the minister in her appointment.

Dr Qureshi insisted that her appointment was made on merit and pleaded the court to spare her, saying that she would lose her career if she tendered resignation.

To a court query about her relation with the interior minister, she said Ahsan Iqbal was the student of her father. But she claimed innocence and said that attempts were being made to malign her.

Punjab Health Minister Khwaja Salman Rafiq and Secretary Najam Shah, and Higher Education Minister Syed Ali Raza and Secretary Nabeen Awan were also present in the courtroom.

The CJP directed the education minister and secretary to take up the matter with the chief minister and form an inquiry committee for hearing of the complaints pending against Professor Uzma regarding her research work.

The top judge also directed the minister and the secretary to appointment the most senior professor of the varsity as acting vice-chancellor till the regular appointment at the post.

The secretary higher education however pleaded the court that a search committee which was earlier made for the Punjab University could be asked for the appointment of the LCWU’s VC. The court accepted the plea, observing that merit and transparency must be ensured in appointment of the VCs.

The CJP also ordered constitution of new search committees for the appointment of the vice chancellors at three medical universities the VCs of which have resigned on court orders.

 

 

PU VC

The higher education secretary also told the Supreme Court that the appointment of the vice chancellor at the Punjab University would be made by Aug 5, pleading that scrutiny of the candidates was a time-taking task as a large number of candidates apply for the top slot of the biggest educational institution.

At this, the CJP expressed concerns and observed that he never knew that a DMG officer like him could try to protect the political interests of a government by all means.

The bench raised questions regarding delay in appointment of PU vice chancellor, saying that why the appointment was not made for the last two years.

“The delay is the failure of the government,” the CJP remarked. He gave three weeks to the government to make the appointment of the regular VC at the Punjab University.

Prof Dr Zakraya Zakir, who resigned as acting vice-chancellor of the Punjab University, appeared before the chief justice, pleading that he should be given a chance.

“I served the varsity for over 28 years with dedication,” Dr Zakir said.

The CJP reprimand him, telling him to be quite as the court knew the facts, especially the financial affairs of the varsity during his tenure.

“We can ask the FIA for investigation if you want it,” the CJP remarked, adding that “the court had earlier shown leniency in the case”.

Addressing Health Minister Salman Rafiq, the CJP said that he was not bound to appear in the court every time. “You should appear before the court when you are required by the court,” the CJP said.

On a lighter note, the CJP said: “Convey to Khwaja Saad Rafiq that anything could happen anytime.” The court adjourned further hearing.

 

 

About Orange Line Metro Train Project, the Chief Justice directed the government to complete the project as soon as possible as it was causing trouble, especially due to the dust on the dug up roads.

Punjab Mass Transit Authority Managing Director Sibtain Fazl-i-Aleem appeared before the bench and said that the train project would be completed by the end of May. He said May 10 was set as the inauguration date but it might be extended to May 31.

In another case, the top court gave the health minister ten days to import a machine required for the treatment of two minors suffering from a rare disease.

The doctors and secretary health told the court that the disease was rare and they never witnessed such disease in their careers. “The disease keeps disturbing their (children’s’) cholesterol levels,” the doctors said.

Dr Ayaz of services hospital said that the machine was required for the treatment and it would cost between Rs7 and Rs8 million.

At this, the CJP regretted that why the machine was not available in Pakistan, observing that “life of every citizen is precious”. The CJP said the apex court could arrange the money for the purchase of the machine if government had any financial problem.

However, the health minister said that they would import the machine without any delay. The court directed the government for giving the best available treatment to the children in the meanwhile.

 

 

 

VCs of three universities resign on CJP’s orders