Editorial: In a humiliating way, four vice-chancellors of public universities in Balochistan were removed by the Governor/Chancellor the other day. Although, violations of laws and rules are nothing new in Balochistan, the country's least-developed but resource-rich province. Without any inquiry or investigation, the VCs of the University of Balochistan, Balochistan Univesity of Information Technology Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS), Loralai University, and Lasbella Science and Marines University were removed from their positions. The sources within the Balochistan government cited the expiry of the tenure of the two VCs as the main reason behind the removal. However, the two VCs' tenure was scheduled to be expired in September and October this year. What was the reason behind this haste? The answer is simple. We are still alien to rules and regulations and consider our mighty official, political and social positions above the law. As per the Balochistan Universities Act 2022, the government can initiate an investigation against any VC in the case of corruption/moral corruption or illegal use of power. The government can only remove the said VC if allegations are proven against him. The Act clearly says that the VC has to be given the opportunity to defend himself against any allegations. Whereas, Governor Malik Abdul Wali Kakar removed all with a stroke of a pen without any investigation. Undoubtedly, there have to be no prolonged tenures of the VCs like Dr. Farooq Ahmed Bazai remained the VC for 17 years of the BUITEMS. He had to be changed. We have only an objection over the humiliating way, he was removed. There had to be a dignified and respectable way for the removal of VC who is also a teacher. No word from the government or Governor's house about the fate of VC Sardar Bahadur Khan (SBK) Women's University. There were repeated allegations against the VC SBK. Nevertheless, the VC SBK managed to meet the Governor and brief him about her university. The SBK has also been given the task to recruit 9000 teachers. Repeated complaints came about in the process of recruitment by the SBK and gives more answers than questions.
File Photo: Governor Balochistan, Syed Zahoor Ahmed Agha posing for a photograph with VC and students of BUITEMS: Photo provided by Governor's House

Syed Ali Shah Analysis:


Two of Balochistan’s public universities are on the brink of financial collapse, employees, officials, and faculty members warned. Temporary bail-out packages by the Balochistan government have been less instrumental/effective in addressing the financial woes of universities.

The educational institutions at the most imminent risk are the autonomous Balochistan University of Information Technology Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS) and the University of Balochistan, which have almost financially collapsed.

BUITEMS protesting against non-payment of salaries

Employees and faculty members of BUITEMS have been protesting against the non-payment of their salaries. They also complain that the administration has also stopped other perks and privileges.

After the 18th amendment bill, higher education is a provincial subject and now the Chief Minister Balochistan has more administrative powers than the Governor. The power of the appointment of vice-chancellors relies upon the search committee headed by the CM rather than the Governor.

Over 20,000 students studying in both universities

In both universities, currently, over 20,000 students have been studying. This is a future educational lifeline for Balochistan, already lagging behind other provinces in terms of key social indicators including education, health, etc.

Education becomes the first casualty of a financial crisis in universities. The employees and faculty members are right in demanding their salaries and privileges.

However, a senior administration official in one of the two universities revealed that they (universities) have appointed a huge number of contract and ad-hoc employees with the approval of the concerned fora- Syndicate and Senate.

Recruitment of blue-eyed on ad-hoc basis one of the reasons behind financial crisis

New programs are started without any approval from the syndicate or senate. Many times non-dev budget is diverted toward the Dev side without any approval.

Their current year budget is not yet passed by the Senate. Many statutory positions are filled on an ad-hoc basis and blue-eyed ones are adjusted instead of properly advertising them.

The current VC of BUITEMS has remained as VC for around 17 years, which is a record tenure, the official revealed. This key official terms these issues as the underlying reasons behind the current financial crisis.

Universities cannot afford further agitation

These two key universities cannot afford further agitations and strikes. It is the core responsibility of the Balochistan government to address the financial crisis and order an inquiry into the recruitment and launching of new programs without any approval. Only, ruthless accountability and strict financial discipline can stop these universities from financial collapse.

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Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.