LAHORE - Principal Aitchison College Lahore Dr Agha Ghazanfar was on Tuesday shown the door allegedly for refusing admission to the scions of some influential political figures.

Board of Governors of Aitchison College met here on Tuesday at the Governor House and approved sacking of the college principal on allegations of committing irregularities in the admission process.

The Board meeting was convened in the absence of college principal who also acts as secretary.

Agha Ghazanfar, however, insists that he was removed from the office after he refused to take pressure from influential political figures to enroll their children who had failed to qualify the entry test.

It merits mention here that a policy to give preference to candidates whose next of kin were alumni of the institution was discarded last year after a campaign led by then governor Chaudhry Sarwar.

As per college documents also available with The Nation, the students who could not qualify for admission included Sardar Ayan Sadiq, grandson of Speaker National Assembly, Miran Mustafa Gilani, grandson of former Prime Minister Syed Yoursuf Raza Gilani, Khazain Hassan Mansha, son of Hassan Mansha from Mansha family, Makhdoom M Abdullah, son of Makhdoom Sheraz Ahmad from Makhdoom family, Muhammad Bilawal Maneka, son of Mian Nadeem Ahmad Maneka from Maneka family and Uzair Mohammad Noon, son of Khalid Muhammad Noon.

Talking to a private TV channel, the sacked principal said that the list of successful candidates was prepared keeping in view the total marks obtained by the students. Top 140 students were offered admission to the K-2 (entry) grade and an interview later held with each of the 140 candidates had nothing to do with the selection of students. “It was meant only to verify their ages,” he said.

Ghazanfar further stated that the admission process was reviewed and cleared by a team constituted by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

As per sources there were 486 registered candidates out of whom 470 appeared in the test and top 140 were declared qualified for admission.

To ensure transparency, he said, the list detailing the total marks obtained by each candidate was uploaded on the institution’s website to avoid the pressure of the influential persons to enroll their candidates against merit.

There was no official word available regarding decisions of the Board of Governors. Spokesperson of Governor House was also not available to comment on the story.

Sources disclosed that outgoing principal Agha Ghazanfar this year had reformed the admission process thinking that the changes would help mitigate political pressure and uphold transparency.

Agha Ghazanfar, a retired civil servant and an alumnus of the college, said that he took unpopular decision to bring back the glory of the prestigious educational institution and not to defame anyone. He said that Board’s decision regarding his termination was unjust and unfair and he would approach the court to seek justice.

He claimed that he had noticed some irregularities in the previous admissions when he took charge of the office seven months ago.

Talking about the admission process he had put in place this year, Ghazanfar said: “We had a bunch of question papers per subject. The question paper on which the candidates were tested was prepared by selecting different number of questions from different papers only a night before the examination”.