KARACHI: There is a rumour going around of late: the governor and chief minister of Sindh are at loggerheads over the appointment of a vice-chancellor for the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS). Word is that the row started with the recent raid of the anti-corruption department at Civil Hospital, Karachi (CHK), on October 2.
According to sources, the officer who led the raiding team has been transferred from district South, with directions to report to the department’s chairperson. “The higher authorities, on the directives of the chief minister, have started investigating whether or not the raid was politically motivated as the CHK’s incumbent medical superintendent, Dr Saeed Qureshi, was the chief minister’s nominee for the vice-chancellor’s post at the DUHS,” explained an official. “It is believed that the raid aimed to defame the superintendent,” he said, adding that the head of the raiding team, Arif Shah, is reportedly well-connected with the Governor House.
The tug-of-war for the coveted post of the DUHS VC between the two heads of the province started some time ago. Around 12 candidates had applied for the post after the controversy surrounding Prof Masood Hameed ended and the government invited applications for the post. The search committee interviewed all the candidates and recommended Dr Qureshi for the slot.
Subsequently, the chief minister moved a summary to the governor, recommending Dr Qureshi’s name. The governor, instead of considering the chief minister’s recommendation, appointed a close aide, Dr Noshad Shaikh, for the slot. This gave rise to a fresh controversy.
Dr Qureshi, backed by the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), preferred to challenge the governor’s decision by taking it to court. The court later de-notified Dr Shaikh from the vice-chancellor’s post.
Soon after the PMA approached the court, the raid was conducted at the CHK, from where the anti-corruption officials took away records pertaining to procurement of medicines, appointments and promotions of employees for the last seven years. According to sources, the raid was conducted with the approval of the anti-corruption department’s director. However, all fingers are being pointed towards inspector Arif Shah, who allegedly misguided the officials and conducted the raid to appease the governor.
The source added that the Chief Minister House has also ordered an inquiry into why the anti-corruption department’s director gave permission to raid the hospital.
For his part, the anti-corruption department’s director, Nazar Mohammad Bozdar, clarified to The Express Tribune that there were no mala fide intentions behind the raid. They did not have any idea of the appointment of the DUHS VC, he added.
“We were tipped off about massive irregularities in the administration of Civil hospital, which is is why we raided it in the presence of the judicial magistrate,” he said. When asked about the investigations, he said: “I have no idea about it.” Bozdar also refused to justify the transfer of Inspector Arif Shah.
On the other hand, the spokespersons for the CM and the Governor houses denied any differences over the appointment of the DUHS VC and its connection to the raid at the hospital.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2015.