PESHAWAR: Vice-Chancellor of the University of Science and Technology Bannu Syed Abid Ali Shah on Monday took the provincial governor to the court for sending him on forced leave for 90 days over the surfacing of his purported dance video on social media.

Prof Syed Abid Ali Shah filed a petition with the Peshawar High Court seeking orders to declare the higher education secretary’s Sept 20 notification about his forced leave ‘illegal and based on ulterior motive’.

The petitioner also requested the court to strike down another Sept 20 notification for the appointment of the university’s dean of the faculty of science and IT, Dr Sultan Mehmood, as the pro-vice chancellor.

In the petition filed through senior lawyer Mian Muhibullah Kakakhel and Saifullah Muhib Kakakhel, he also sought the court’s orders to restrain the respondents, including the provincial governor, who is also the USTB chancellor, and higher education secretary from interfering in the university’s affairs.

The VC prayed the court to direct the Federal Investigation Agency to remove the ‘fake and edited’ contents spread through different social media platforms.

The petitioner was sent on forced leave by the governor after a video footage purportedly showing him dance with a woman went viral.

The chancellor has constituted, which has to submit its findings within 10 days.

The respondents in the petition are the provincial government through the chief secretary, governor, higher education secretary, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority through its director general, FIA director general and interior secretary.

The petitioner said he was appointed VC on July 24, 2017, for three years and that the university had suffered huge losses before his appointment but he helped develop it tremendously.

He said during his tenure, different groups including leaders of political parties approached him for appointment of relatives and people affiliated with their parties to different posts but he made appointments purely on merit.

The petitioner said recently, several important posts of the university were advertised, including that of registrar, controller of examination, deputy director works, deputy registrar treasurer, director administration, and director planning and development.

He alleged that many people, including a former civil judge, who was removed from service on corruption charges, applied to the post of registrar.

The petitioner claimed that when such applications were found to be held ineligible by a five-member scrutiny committee, they began sharing his fake and alleged dance video on social media.

He claimed that several fake social media IDs were made to pressure him for appointments.

The petitioner said the chancellor mentioned a totally unjustified reason in the notification for sending him on forced leave without giving him opportunity of hearing and without confirming the news circulated in print and electronic media about it.

He added that the officials and media didn’t contact him to take his version on the matter.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2019