Question mark over director’s appointment to KU’s Benazir Chair

Syed Mohammad Askari
Thursday, Jun 23, 2022

KARACHI: The Sindh government has appointed director of the Shaheed Mohtarmma Benazir Bhutto Chair at the University of Karachi against a violation of transparency.

The scribe has obtained a copy of the application submitted by Mohammad Ibrahim Shaikh for the position of Director of the Chair. According to insiders, the University of Karachi has issued a letter of appointment for a six-month period under orders from the Universities and Boards Department.

It is learnt that the application of Mr. Ibrahim Shaikh has been forwarded to the U&B Department by the CM House with a direction: “Please process for appointment.” Acting VC of Karachi University Prof Dr Nasira Khatoon has been tasked by U&B Secretary Mureed Rahimoon with appointing Mohammad Ibrahim Shaikh Director of the Chair.

The establishment of the Shaheed Benazir Chair at the University of Karachi has cost millions of rupees but no one has been appointed director since its setup. Since beginning, there has also been no substantial research.

The Chair has a regular advisory council that selects its director based on interviews and qualification. Applications are invited from applicants through newspaper advertisements. But in Mohammad Ibrahim Shaikh’s case he lacks appropriate academic credentials, making him ineligible for the position. He was formerly employed as a protocol officer for a well-known political house.

When contacted, PRO of University of Karachi Zeeshan Azmat promised to call back with an official version from either (acting) Vice Chancellor, Prof Dr Nasira Khatoon, or the (acting) Registrar, but he never called back.

Later, it was revealed that Shaheed Benazir Bhutto’s birthday cake was cut by the acting VC, acting registrar and newly-appointed director Mohammad Ibrahim Shaikh later in the evening.

Sources claim that Mureed Rahimoon, Secretary of the U&B, directed the acting vice-chancellor to appoint Mohammad Ibrahim Shaikh director of the chair on this occasion. When contacted, Secretary of the Boards and Universities Mureed Rahimoon said that he believed in merit and he had not directed anyone to be recruited.

President of the Karachi University Teachers’ Society Prof Shah Ali Al-Qadar said that in a teachers' meeting there was opposition to direct recruitment of a director on Benazir Chair and giving house to the VC’s Grade-16 PA in C Category. Prof Qadar quoted the acting VC as saying there was a lot of pressure to appoint a director and she was helpless in this regard.