`Misplaced priorities` CM`s nod to proposal for enhancing age limit for FJMU VC`s slot
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By Asif Chaudhry | 10/29/2015 12:00:00 AM
LAHORE: In what appeared to be a case of jumbled-up priorities, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has accorded approval to a health department proposal seeking amendment to the age limit for the vice chancellor slot at newly-created Fatima Jinnah Medical University (FJMU).

The proposed amendment to the FJMU Act 2015 seeks to enhance the age limit for the FJMU top position from 61 to 65 years. It was being strongly opposed by all the stalceholders who had termed it an absolutely unwarranted step, when the varsity was in need of some urgent appointments.

An official seeking anonymity told Dawn that a strong lobby had been at work to secure the slot for acandidate of its choice against the laid down rules and merit.

He said the decision annoyed the medical community which had alreadyexpresseditsstrongreservations to the proposed amendment.

It also seemed out of place when the new varsity was battling some serious issues in the absence of regular appointments against some prime positions on its major bodies, including the Syndicate.

Instead of making the crisis-hit varsity fully functional in the larger interest of the students as well as the patients, the authorities were wasting time on non-issues, he said.

He lamented that key varsity slots, including that of pro-vice chancellor, registrar, treasurer, controller examinations etc had been lying vacant since the institute got status of the third publicmedical university.

He said the Punjab Assembly had passed the FJMU Bill 2015 in May this year, restricting the VC`s age limit to 61 years, when a standing committee on health presented it after holding an extensive debate on it.

The bill categorically reads, `A person who is eligible and who is not more than sixty-one years of age on the last date fixed for submission of applications for the post of vice chancellor, may apply for the post` It further stated that the government shall constitute, for a term of two years, a Search Committee consisting of not less than three and not more than five members for making recommendations for appointment of the VC within six months.

The Search Committee shall follow such procedure and criteria forsearch or selection of a panel of candidates for the post of the vice chancellor as the government may, by notification, determine, it says.

`The Search Committee shall recommend to the government, in alphabeticalorder,apanelofthree persons who, in its opinion, are suitable for appointment as the vice chancellor,` it says.

It also says that the incumbent VC shall not be allowed any extension in his/her tenure but subject to eligibility he may again compete for the VC`s slot in accordance with the procedure prescribed by or under this section.

The ofñcial deplored that the financial, administrative and development schemes of the varsity had come to a grinding halt since the Search Committee had delayed process of regular appointment of the FJMU VC.