Gilgit-Baltistan: The Maiden University of GB Gets its VC after a Lapse of One Year

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ISLAMABAD (ET):  After a lapse of almost one year, Karakoram International University (KIU) in Gilgit-Baltistan has got a new vice chancellor.

Dr Asif Khan, a professor of geology at University of Peshawar National Centre of Excellence in Geology, was formally appointed by President Mamnoon Hussain, who is also the chancellor of KIU. He will replace VC Najma Najam, whose tenure expired after more than four years in office.

Dr Khan holds a PhD in Geology from Imperial College, London and is expected to assume charge in the next few days, a Higher Education Commission (HEC) official said. Earlier this year, a summary with three names for the slot had been sent by the KIU Senate to the president, but the names had been rejected by the presidency due to allegations of favoritism by some committee members.

Dr Khan, who was also a member of the executive council of Pakistan Academy of Sciences from 2010 to 2012, carried his latest project under the British Council’s International Project (2010-2013) titled “Institutional Support and Twinning in Geosciences between Kabul, Peshawar, Leicester, Prague and Keele Universities”. Dr Khan’s area of interest include tectonics and mountain building processes, structural geology of the Himalayan foreland thrust-fold belt in Northern Pakistan, tectonics of the India-Afghan collision zone, Kurram-Waziristan tribal belt, and natural hazards. Although the outgoing VC refused to comment on issues facing the university due to the lack of a permanent head, an official at KIU told The Express Tribune that research and development projects at the varsity had come to a standstill. He said that issues of misappropriation, illegal appointments and mismanagement had become a hallmark of the university.

As a federally-chartered institute, varsity rules require the HEC to form a search committee to shortlist the applicants before sending them to the KIU Senate for further perusal. The 15-member KIU Senate goes through the shortlisted names before sending it to the president for final approval.

The HEC had shortlisted nine names before forwarding them to the KIU Senate, which held a meeting on April 19 and shortlisted three names including two names—Pakistan Agricultural Research Council Chairman Dr Iftikhar Ahmad and Shah Abdul Latif University Khairpur Pro-Vice Chancellor Dr Ghulam Raza Bhatti for the position. The presidency has intimated the HEC and the KIU Senate about the new appointment, the sources said.

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