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Sindh High Court Halts Police Action Against Isra University Vice Chancellor Amidst Control Dispute

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The Sindh High Court has issued an order prohibiting the police from taking any action against the disputed vice-chancellor, pro-vice chancellor, and a former VC of Isra University Hyderabad. The three prominent educators, along with others, were named in an FIR filed in Dadu district, which included charges of criminal intimidation, rioting, and fraud.

The Hyderabad Circuit Bench of the SHC has put the respondents on notice since July 19 and directed the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to unblock the computerized national identity cards of the petitioners. The counsel representing the petitioners, Prof Dr. Umar Kazi, Prof Dr. Ahmed Waliullah Kazi, and Prof Dr. Hameedullah Kazi, informed the court that a dispute over administrative control of the university has emerged between the Kazi family, the university’s founders, and Prof Dr. Nazir Ashraf Laghari, who claims to be the VC and currently holds administrative control.

While the Kazis retain control over the Karachi and Islamabad campuses, the dispute between the two parties has resulted in numerous lawsuits filed in different courts since 2020. The counsel argued that the recent FIR lodged in Dadu district is yet another attempt to involve the Kazi family in criminal cases.

The lawyer also informed the court that a scrutiny memo dated May 14, prepared by the Assistant District Public Prosecutor of Dadu, stated that the police themselves wished to categorize the FIR as a ‘C’ class due to insufficient witness support. However, the civil judge and judicial magistrate disregarded the police report and issued bailable arrest warrants for the Kazis in June 2022. The same judge ordered NADRA to block the Kazis’ CNICs on April 13.

The complainant in the FIR alleged that Dr. Umar Kazi purchased a plot in Hyderabad for Rs5 million but only paid Rs500,000, defaulting on the remaining amount, while also threatening the complainant against demanding the outstanding payment. The lawyer representing the petitioners emphasized that his clients have no knowledge of the complainant, who hails from Pano Aqil, Sukkur.

The Sindh High Court suspended the impugned order of the judicial magistrate, ensuring that the petitioners should not be arrested. The court also directed NADRA to unblock their NICs and submit a report during the next hearing.

The ongoing power struggle for administrative control of Isra University has resulted in a series of legal battles and police cases. In one such case involving allegations of a fake degree issuance, Prof Dr. Hameedullah was arrested from his residence in Muslim Society, Hyderabad, on August 6, 2022, and accused the police of subjecting him to mental torture and humiliation.

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