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Gomal VC sent on forced leave

PESHAWAR: Vice-Chancellor, Gomal University Dera Ismail Khan, Prof Dr Iftikhar Ahmad has been sent on forced leave for opposing the provincial government’s decision about the establishment of the Agriculture University and writing directly to Prime Minister Imran Khan regarding the issue in violation of the laid down procedure.

A formal notification to this effect was issued on Thursday. The notification stated: “The Governor/Chancellor Gomal University Dera Ismail Khan has been pleased to send Prof Dr Iftikhar Ahmad, vice-chancellor of the university on forced leave for a period of ninety days with immediate effect on account of opposing, criticizing the decision of provincial government about the establishment of Agriculture University Dera Ismail Khan and bypassing laid down procedure in correspondence.”

Through the same notification, additional charge of the university was assigned to Prof Dr Masroor Elahi Baber, vice-chancellor of the newly established Agriculture University, Dera Ismail Khan.

Dr Iftikhar Ahmad had already tendered resignation from the office several days back after the PTI’s government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had sought an explanation from him for opposing the decision of the provincial cabinet about the establishment of Agriculture University in Dera Ismail Khan.

Dr Iftikhar Ahmad had written a letter directly to the prime minister against the decision, which had invited the anger of the provincial government. After seeking an explanation from the vice-chancellor, the Higher Education Department, according to reliable sources, had moved two separate summaries to either terminate Dr Iftikhar Ahmad as vice-chancellor or send him on forced leave.

Sensing the possible action against him, Dr Iftikhar Ahmad submitted his resignation to the governor citing personal reasons.

The authorities in the Higher Education Department and the Governor’s House were, however, aware of his move and they were adamant to take disciplinary action against him instead of accepting or rejecting his resignation.

Sources told The News that Dr Iftikhar Ahmad had intended to preempt the disciplinary action against him through his resignation. But the resignation was totally ignored and he was sent on forced leave for three months, the sources said.

The issue started when he opposed a provincial cabinet directive asking him to hand over land, faculty and assets to the Agriculture University, Dera Ismail Khan.

The provincial government had upgraded the faculty of agriculture, Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khan to become a full-fledged university. Vice-chancellor for the new university had also been appointed along with the appointment of Dr Iftikhar Ahmad.

However, after taking over as vice-chancellor, Dr Iftikhar Ahmad refused to hand over the land, faculty and assets to the new university.

The matter was taken up by the provincial cabinet in its recent meeting and it issued strict directives to the university to hand over 1,000-kanal land to the new university along with the required faculty.

For allocation of assets, a commission under the commissioner Dera Ismail Khan was formed as well.

But instead of complying with the decision of the provincial cabinet, Dr Iftikhar Ahmad wrote directly to Prime Minister Imran Khan ignoring his immediate bosses in violation of the laid down rules.

He had appealed to the prime minister to directly intervene in the matter and stop the division of Gomal University.

His argument was that similar decisions taken in the province in the past had created problems.

The letter caused anger among the quarters concerned. A show-cause notice was issued to him asking him to submit a written explanation or face disciplinary action.

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