No matter how many scholarships are being offered and the budget allocated to the universities, the root cause is to bring every powerful administrator of universities under the law which is only possible by taking timely decisions and implementations of the decisions without any deferment.
Government must introduce a zero tolerance policy for the Vice Chancellors who act as monarchs bulldozing all the rules and constitution too. Let the people practically realize that no one is above law and the universities will automatically place in the top hundred universities of the world in QS ranking.
The violation of rules and the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan has turned to be a mere child’s play for some of the vice chancellors in universities of Pakistan generally and Punjab specifically. Every government employee is bound to perform his duties within the jurisdiction defined by the law but, in the case of universities, the law of the land fails to clutch the culprits encouraging them to bulldoze not only the rules and regulations but the constitution too which is not only alarming but gibberish.
PM Khan’s quest for rule of law
PM Imran Khan while addressing the police force in Islamabad, a few days ago, stressed on the supremacy of law and declared it the only way to make headway. While talking to the police officials he said “No one is above the law and every high official of the government including the parliamentarians, Ministers and the PM must be treated according to the law. If you do not reprimand me (The PM) if I commit a mistake, I will certainly penalize you for negligence towards your duties. You must not be feared by any high officials in order to implement the law.”
This conversation attracted the attention of social media users towards the essence of the supremacy of law and equality for everyone which is the only way for Pakistan to be a great nation. The intention and commitment of the Prime Minister is beyond any doubt as he reiterates at times that his only purpose is to have rule of law in the state which is being reflected from his various acts.
The situation in our higher education institutes, the universities, is contrary to what PM Imran Khan has said time and again about ‘the supremacy of law’ as the law of the land does not apply to the administrations of the universities, especially to the Vice Chancellors.
The evaluation of the universities reflects that the Vice Chancellors do not act as government servants but monarchs who enjoy unlimited powers without any fear of law and, astonishingly, no action has ever been taken against them but once in a blue moon.
Education system: a victim of negligence?
As a matter of fact, the sheer violation of rules and regulations by the Vice Chancellors is only materialized by the connivance of Registrar offices who turn a deaf ear to the legal advice and follow the line set by the bosses for their own promotions and benefits.
The responsibilities of the registrars in the universities are only to measure the legality of the orders and recommend solutions in accordance with the rules of the universities, service rules, law and constitution of Pakistan to avoid the illegalities but they themselves join the party to make the rules a bunk of ridicule.
The violation of rules and regulations further discredits the situation when the articles of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan are violated openly in black and white.
The conduct, efficiency, and discipline rules of government employees in 1964 transparently define the conduct and limitations of the government servants, and article 241 of the constitution of Pakistan forces all the existing rules to continue.
A few of the notifications have been issued recently by the registrars from some of the universities in Punjab by the pleasure of the Vice Chancellors directing the Members of National and Provincial Assemblies to be the conveners and members of the committees under the commands of the VCs grossly violating section 19 of the Conduct rules 1964 leading a further violation of article 241 of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Section 19 of the conduct rules 1964 strictly restricts a government employee to directly or indirectly approach the members of National and Provincial Assemblies or non-official members to intervene in any matter on his behalf but the Vice-Chancellors seems exempted from the said conduct rules 1964.
Most of the times such irregularities occur as a result when the Chancellors refuse to accommodate any of the misadventures caused by the VCs as the Governor/Chancellor Punjab has taken a firm stance against all the administrators of the universities indulged in maladministration though the practical implementation of the decisions taken by him is still awaited.
The unnecessary delay in implementation of the decisions, taken by the chancellors, is the real cause of massive irregularities and abuse of power. Once the administrators (the VCs) have been proven guilty and sentenced, they turn into wounded bears knowing their days are numbered and start behaving as fish out of the water to rescue their follies, and their bewilderment damages the institutions that take decades to repair.
A call for strict action
Governors of all the provinces especially Governor Punjab (most of the universities are under his jurisdiction as Punjab is the largest province) need to take immediate actions against the culprits occupying the offices of the Vice Chancellors as their further presence in the offices will only damage the universities.
In order to improve the ranking of our universities, the offices of VCs must be occupied by the men of characters having no spot of maladministration and nepotism. Those who have been proven guilty and waiting for their sentence to be materialized can never pay attention to the betterment of the universities rather they fully focus on their own survival.
It is most probable that in the coming days the VCs start issuing notifications directing the Prime Minister, Chief Ministers, and the Governors to perform their duties as directed by them (the VCs) if the Governor Punjab postpones the implementation of his decisions.
The improvement of universities in world ranking will remain a dream unless the supremacy of law is practically proved for all and sundry. Timely leverage given to any official has always worse consequences later paid by the state. The governor Punjab needs to nip all the culprits in the bud or it will be too late to act.
Dr. Zohaib Zahid is an Assistant Professor at Islamia University Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan Campus. His Twitter handle is: @ChaudaryZohaib.The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.