KUTS continues classes boycott for seventh straight day

Karachi: The protest of the University of Karachi’s teaching and non-teaching staff has entered its seventh day, with academic activities at the province’s biggest educational institute remaining suspended since Feb 1.

Differences emerged between Sindh universities and boards department’s secretary Mureed Rahimo and the Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS) when the latter declared the selection board null and void during a meeting for the appointment of professors in three departments of the varsity a few days back.

As per the teachers association, Mureed Rahimo misbehaved with the KU vice-chancellor and other senior teachers of the university during the selection board meeting. They demanded of the concerned authorities to remove Rahimo from the post.

“The protest will be extended to other universities of Sindh if demands are not accepted,” warned the teachers.

Academic activities will remain suspended in the university till their demands are not fulfilled, the protesters added. “The autonomy of the KU has been attacked by refusing the bylaws of the varsity,” said the teachers.

Examinations have also been postponed at the university due to the teachers’ protest.

On January 31, the Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS) observed the black day at the varsity and has been boycotting the classes since then.

Later on February 3, the teachers’ body convened its general meeting in the Arts Auditorium and announced that the boycott would continue indefinitely as the secretary’s attitude was not acceptable.

In the general meeting, office holders of the KUTS had expressed that the selection board for the appointment of Dr Zafar Iqbal Shams in the environment department, which was summoned on the orders of the Sindh High Court, was cancelled by the universities and boards department in clear violation of court orders.

The body had announced that the boycott of teaching activities would continue till the selection board was convened.

The KUTS had also demanded the replacement of the incumbent universities and boards secretary with a competent bureaucrat who knew the University Act.

The meeting had urged the administration of the varsity to complete the process of the selection board within three months and conclude within 15 days the process of scrutiny of applicants who had applied for selection under a 2019 advertisement.

KUTS President Prof Dr Shah Ali Ul Qader said that the secretary had zero knowledge of the varsities.

He had added that the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association’s (Fapuasa) Sindh chapter has convened a meeting on February 8 to discuss the issue of selection boards for the public sector universities in the province.

“We might extend our protest to other universities of Sindh if our demands are not fulfilled.”

He had clarified that the KU was not promoting teachers through the selection board. “When the varsities advertise any post in newspapers, it means they call applicants from outside and inside to ensure merit.

This selection board was formed for three departments under the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan’s rules.”

The selection board was constituted by the KU for the environmental science department under an advertisement published in 2019 and for the food science and zoology departments under a 2014 advertisement.

Sindh Universities and Board Secretary Mureed Rahimo said the KU wanted to summon the selection board under an advertisement that was published in 2014.

There should be a deadline for the constitution of the selection board after an advertisement has been published, the secretary had said as he asked how the varsity could do a selection on the basis of an ad that appeared around a decade earlier.

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