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Karachi

June 19, 2017

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‘KU admin holding back salaries of Benazir Bhutto Chair officials’

‘KU admin holding back salaries of Benazir Bhutto Chair officials’

The University of Karachi’s (KU) administration has stopped payment of salaries to the director and employees looking after operations of the Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Chair after the Sindh High Court (SHC) restrained the varsity management from removing the chair’s incumbent director.

The university authorities were also learnt to have not paid funds to the contractors constructing the SMBB chair’s building and convention centre, funds for which had already been released by the Sindh government in the past.

SMBB Chair Director Sahar Gul Bhatti had recently written to KU vice chancellor, Dr Muhammad Amjal, to inform him that the university’s finance department was refusing to sign the routine bills and checks including those of salaries of the director and other employees.

The matter of refusal to make payment to contractors and suppliers constructing the building and the centre was also taken up by Sahar in the letter.

The contractors could consequently not pay salaries to the construction workers, the letter maintained. Also, funds released by the government would lapse if not released on time as the current fiscal year was coming to an end.

The Sindh government had established the SMBB chair in September 2008 with an aim to carry out researches and publishing books concerning the political struggle and vision of the slain prime minister, Benazir Bhutto.

Sahar was appointed its director in 2015 for a two-year tenure. Later, according to her, the varsity’s syndicate extended the tenure of the chair’s director from two to four years. As per the decision, Sahar was to remain the director till June 2019.

However, the varsity’s registrar recently issued a letter regarding her removal from the post. On June 8, the SHC restrained KU’s administration from removing Bhatti from the directorship of the chair till July 5.

The incumbent director said that ceasing salaries of the chair’s staff and funds for projects being run under the SMBB chair was a violation of court orders and basic human rights. “Eid is near but the employees have not been paid their salaries,” she told The News. “This has also hampered the chair’s work.”

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