‘Hurdle’ to set up VU campuses in Sialkot laid bare

Close ties between VU rector and Imran’s brother-in-law, CEO of university’s private campus, blamed behind reason

‘Hurdle’ to set up VU campuses in Sialkot laid bare

LAHORE: The Virtual University (VU) of Pakistan is neither establishing its campuses in Sialkot nor allowing any private institute in the city to get affiliation with the university by dint of alleged close ties between VU Rector Dr Naveed A Malik and chief executive officer (CEO) of a private campus, Sohail Anwar Khan, who is brother-in-law of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, Daily Times has learnt.

According to reliable sources at the VU, the incumbent VU rector enjoys close ties with Sohail Khan, the CEO of the Computer Connection Institute (CCI), which is registered with the VU as a Private Virtual Campus (PVC), and since its affiliation with the VU, the university has neither awarded affiliation to any institute nor it has set up its own campus in the city.

Talking to Daily Times, a senior university’s employee, requesting anonymity said, “In order to facilitate an old friend, who is brother-in law-of Imran Khan, the rector is not allowing any other private organisation to become the PVC, and has also not planned to set up the university’s campus in Sialkot, whereas the said PVC is earning more than VU with more percentage commission out of students’ fee.” He alleged that the VU rector is partner of Sohail Khan in the sole campus of VU in Sialkot.

It may be mentioned that Sohail Khan does not have any official post in the PTI but he was pretty active in the PTI’s sit-in in Islamabad in 2014 and other rallies in Lahore. His photographs with Imran Khan are also pasted at the CCI campus.

Since its establishment in 2002, the university is providing distance learning education to students. The varsity has allowed private partners to provide an amount of required computers and a computer lab for the establishment of a PVC. It has around 162 campuses all across the country among which 29 campuses are VU’s own campuses, while remaining 133 are PVCs.

The university has established its own campuses in several smaller cities likes Badin, Ghotki, Qadirpur Ran, Nankana Sahib and Jalalpur Pirwala. Three PVCs are functioning in Sadiqabad, while two PVCs each in Sargodha, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Rahim Yar Khan, Okara, Jhang, Gojra, Chiniot, Chichawatni, Chakwal, Burewala, Arifwala have been set up.

When contacted, VU Spokesman Qamar Riaz said the university had established its campuses in surrounding areas of Sialkot like Pasroor, Daska, Shakargarh, Sambrial and Zafarwal. “The campus in Sialkot is facilitating all our students smoothly and it fulfils our need,” he said.