LAHORE - Four public sector universities are without vice chancellors (VCs), it is learnt from reliable sources.

These include University of Sahiwal, a sub-campus of the Multan Bahauddin Zakariya University; University of Okara (UoO), a sub-campus of the Lahore University of Education; University of Jhang; and The Lahore Government University of Home Economics.

The charter of the Sahiwal University was approved in 2015 and the University of Okara in 2016. The Lahore Government College of Home Economics was upgraded after the Punjab Assembly passed the University of Home Economics Lahore Bill 2016 in February 2017.

Despite repeated attempts, Higher Education Department Secretary Nabeel Awan could not be reached for comment.

However, an additional secretary said on anonymity said the government would soon complete the process of posting VCs in the universities.

He said the universities of Sahiwal and Okara are ‘duly functional’. Divisional commissioners and special committees are looking after these educational institutes, he maintained, adding that the universities of Jhang and Lahore would start functioning soon.

Punjab Higher Education Commission Director General Dr Shahid Saroya said after the LHC judgment, the commission had written to the HED to initiate process for the appointment of VCs in these universities. The process is underway, he added.

When contacted, Sahiwal Commissioner Babar Hayat Tarar said that he was the University of Sahiwal project director.

He added that the PC 1 has been prepared and it will soon be presented in the Provincial Development Working Party (PDWP) meeting while the land has been acquired for the campus.

The governor/chancellor has approved the syndicate which will soon hold its meeting and plan to run the affairs of the university.

It will appoint officers like the registrar, treasurer, controller and other faculty members while the search committee has been constituted to initiate the process for appointment of the VC, the commissioner said.

It is also learnt that the Punjab Assembly had passed the UoS Act 2015 for establishing of an autonomous university. It was declared that 54 acres sub-campus of the BZU will be converted to the UoS Sahiwal campus. The same was the case of the UoO, Okara. The syndicate was approved by the governor and appointments for the VC, registrar, treasurer, controller and faculty etc would soon be started as the search committee for the VC was formulated, said an officer. The 280 acres of land at Renala Khurd was approved for the UoO Okara campus in 2015, 200 acres for UoJ, it was learnt. As per Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, UHE will be constructed on an area of 17 acres.

The term of VCs for the Information Technology University (ITU) Lahore, Women University Multan and Ghazi University, Dera Ghazi Khan was expired while the Punjab government had terminated the services of the Ghazi University VC Prof Dr Muhammad Khalique Ahmed in 2016.

The appointment of the LCWU VC Dr Uzma Quraishi was also conditional subject to the outcome of the former VC Dr Rukhsana Kausar whose representation was yet to be decided by a CM constituted committee. The vice-chancellors at Punjab University and Muhammad Nawaz Sharif UET Multan are also on additional charge basis.

Now, after the LHC judgment in the appointment of VCs case, the government has changed the criteria for the VCs appointment. Separate search committee for each university will appoint the vice-chancellors.

The Punjab government has also included this thing in the act of a newly established university - UHE.

Two of the public sector VCs said that the government should ensure completion of the process of acquiring land, construction of academic and hostel blocks, labs etc well before it passes the bill for the establishment of the new universities. They demanded the government include senior educationists in the search committees being established to appoint VCs.