LAHORE: Ammar Ali Jan, an assistant professor at Punjab University, has said he was fired by the administration for being ‘needlessly vocal’ and wasn’t paid for his services. The university has denied this.
In a Facebook post on Friday, the professor said he was told that he ‘pays too much attention to non-issues like women empowerment and racial profiling which will be detrimental to the peace on campus’.
Punjab University spokesman Khurram Shehzad has denied the accusation and said the professor violated ‘terms and conditions’ of employment. “Ammar Ali Jan was appointed in October 2017 and according to the terms and conditions he had to join the university within one month but he didn’t,” he said.
According to the spokesman, the professor wasn’t terminated but his offer letter was withdrawn. But he said he will be paid. “You have failed to comply with office orders. So, your appointment letter is automatically considered as withdrawn,” says an official letter.
Ammar Ali Jan told SAMAA that his previous contract with the university expired in June and it was being extended. “Why did they allow me to continue teaching for seven months if I violated an office order or didn’t comply with the directives?” he said.
“It’s a matter of academic freedom. The administration doesn’t approve of critical thinking, dissent and those who speak about rights,” Mr Jan said.
The PU spokesman said, however, that they had around 1,200 teachers on campus and they all at liberty to share and express their ideas.
“I was told by certain quarters that I should stay away from Manzoor Pashteen and the PTM, otherwise I will face dire consequences,” Ammar Ali Jan wrote on his Facebook wall. “I know I had done nothing wrong, that all my activities were within the ambit of law and ethics, and that I can prove my innocence in any court of law.”
One of his friends who did not want to be named told SAMAA: “Ammar Ali Jan […] participated in a talk at LUMS on PTM with the group’s leader Manzoor Pashteen in March.” He said Manzoor Pashteen is once again visiting Lahore on April 22.
On Friday tweets surfaced that an event to discuss the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement at Habib University in Karachi on Friday was being cancelled due to unavoidable circumstances. Rafiullah Kakar, one of the speakers, tweeted that he had just learnt it was called off. The topic of discussion for the event was the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement and was titled: Ethnic rights, new social movements and the state of the federation in Pakistan.