Open Letter to Leaders of All Political Parties of Pakistan

The Plight of Sindh University Teachers: Let us live, Let us teach

Yesterday, it was 47th day of closure of University of Sindh, after the coldblooded murder of a teacher on the very first day of the academic year January 2nd, 2012. Prof. Bashir Ahmed Channar was murdered few hundred meters from the Vice Chancellors house, normally tightly secured by the Police and Rangers deployments. Student Killings and Class boycotts have now become a routine activity on the campus more frequent than academic activities.

To be specific, the university has witnessed three murders including a Professor, and countless boycotts of academic activities causing an irreparable loss to the education hence future of Sindh, since the joining of the present Vice Chancellor, Mr. Nazir Ahmed Mughal, well-known as Viagara Vice Chancellor for his depraved act of using university funds for purchasing the said medicine in his first tenure as Vice Chancellor (1996-1999). Mr. Mughal with his inefficiencies, corruption and mismanagement has converted an educational institution into a slaughter house, where no one including the teachers and students feel safe and secured.

It is obvious that the teachers, being the most immediate stakeholders, could not have remained mere spectators to the
destruction of our beloved institution which has mothered majority of the higher educational institutes in Sindh and which has thousands of students enrolled whose future directly depends on a good governance and reputation of the university.

Showing their sense of responsibility and commitment the teachers of the university on the platform of Sindh University Teachers’ Association (SUTA) repeatedly asked the VC for taking interest in university affairs instead of his needless and unaffordable foreign visits unduly burdening millions of rupees to an already fund-starved university. To our disappointment, all our requests went unheeded by the VC.

Finally, seeing no hope from the inefficient VC whose mismanagement and corruption finally brought the gloomiest day to the university, when a professor was killed on the campus, all the teachers unanimously decided to use their right of withdrawal of such duties and academic activities, which had become mockery of education, until the removal of the VC. For all the current mess prevailing, the teachers hold responsible the present VC’s policies of misappropriations of funds, financial stakes in university admissions and examinations, and many other avenues of corruption brazenly opened to turn the university into a money-making vehicle for himself and his supporters who have brought him in despite his well known and documented corruption scandals, and inefficiencies in his first tenure as VC 1996-1999.

Hardly would be any segment of the society which has not endorsed our demands including (1) the removal of this VC, (2) setting up a judicial inquiry into Prof. Channar’s murder and corruption of Nazir Mughal, (3) restoring the student unions in the university banned by the dictators in order to mitigate unwholesome political influence on the universities (4) Withdrawal of Police and Rangers from the campus to get rid of the elements cancerous to our education system. Once pronounced by SUTA, these demands have been enthusiastically endorsed in unison by all the universities of Sind and Pakistan on the platform of FAPUASA.

How pitiable are we as a nation that the present government instead of honoring the right and proper demands of the teachers, the students, the whole civil society and the masses, has stubbornly vowed to save a corrupt and notorious person whose character and scandals are hidden to none. Worse still is the fact that the authorities are using the dictatorial tactics of terrorizing and harassing the teachers by launching FIRs against them and raiding their houses to give up their principled stance. To side a corrupt and superannuated VC the authorities using the fake and illegal syndicate, not yet appropriately constituted, are dismissing the young PhD faculty members who are the bright hope for our nation. As a result all the universities and higher education institution of Sindh have suspended their academic activities for weeks now, demonstrations and hunger strikes by people from all walks of life are being held all over Sindh as a gesture of solidarity with University of Sindh. Unfortunately, one person illegally appointed without following appropriate procedure is so near and dear to the authorities, the Chancellor, the Pro-Chancellor, that they are willing to ruin the whole higher education of Sindh for him.

We have written many open letters and petitions to these authorities including the PM, President and Chief Justice of Pakistan but to no avail. It seems as these authorities have nothing to do with the education of Sindh.

Now we the teachers of the Sindh University expect from our democratic party leaders to chorus our demands (1. the immediate removal of Nazir Mughul, 2. setting up judicial commission to inquire Prof. Channar’s murder, 3. restoring the student unions and, 4. withdrawal of police and rangers) in such a way as they have censured the corruption at our national institutions like PIA, Railways and Pakistan Steels and illegal appointments of notorious and corrupt people as MDs of various national organizations by the current authorities.

We believe that you would not disagree with us that an appointment of a corrupt person as Vice Chancellor is far more disastrous to the nation than an appointment of a corrupt person as Managing Director of a non-academic institution. So please join our hands to save the University of Sindh and to save the future of Sindh. Together, we will surely get things changed as we want them and gradually we will get rid of this dysfunctional government machinery.

Dr Azhar Ali Shah
Sindh University Teachers Association



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