Published On: Fri, Jan 3rd, 2014
Published in Category: Islamabad / Islamabad High Court

IHC seeks updated status on appointment of HEC Chief (Detailed)

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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC), Thursday, directed federal government to apprise about specific date and updated status on process for appointment of permanent/ regular chairman Higher Education Commission till Monday 6th January 2014. While hearing the case, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddique remarked that the chairman HEC‘s office is a statutory position and non-appointment of permanent chairman HEC is a very serious issue and matter of great concern which has been reported in print and electronic media.

He directed the standing counsel from federal government to bring the matter under the notice of HEC controlling Authority, Prime Minister of Pakistan. Jehangir Jadoon Standing Counsel informed that as per information provided by federal ministry of education & training, the summary for appointment of regular chairman HEC had been moved by the ministry to Prime Minister Secretariat.

Umar Hanif Khichi, advocate appearing on behalf of Prof. Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman stated that as per HEC Act, the federal government has to appoint regular chairman within 90 days.

The office of permanent chairman HEC is still lying vacant even after lapse of four months which is negatively affecting the affairs of sole higher education regulatory authority of the country, he said.

Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman filed a writ petition on Monday in Islamabad High Court for the appointment of permanent and regular chairperson of HEC as per HEC Act without any further delay through a transparent and merit based mechanism.

Dr Atta-ur-Rehman moved the petition through his counsel Mian Umer Hanif Khichi advocate and cited principal secretary to prime minister and secretary education and standards in higher education as respondents.

In his petition, the President PAS stated that since former chairperson’s first four-year term ended on August 26th, 2013, therefore, since to the present, the office of the Chairperson HEC has been vacant, which is a statutory office and most significant in role.

The academic circles, Vice Chancellors of the various universities, Academic Staff Associations, students and the public at large, who are the key stakeholders, had already expressed reservations on non-initiation of process for appointment of permanent/regular Chairman HEC.

“The education experts and stakeholders believe that delay in the appointment is badly damaging the higher education sector as HEC chairman along with the 17 member HEC board called the “Commission” takes the key decisions regarding all policy matters as described in above-stated paragraphs and in the functioning of national universities and higher education institutions,” maintained the petitioner. Dr Atta said that the regular Chairperson, HEC has not been appointed by the government and due to non-appointment of regular/permanent Chairman, HEC is hampering important decisions, policy matters and its implementation and the higher education sector, comprising of over 150 universities, 258 campuses, 1.2 million students, 32,000 faculty members, including over 7600 PhD faculty, and administrative/support staff of over 100,000.

He argued that as per HEC Ordinance 2002, all the key decisions related to higher education has to be taken by the Commission’s board which is headed by its Chairman and the Secretariat acts as the executing wing of the Commission which is responsible for implementation of all the orders, decisions, directives of the board as per Section: 1 and 2 of the HEC Ordinance, 2002.

Through the petition, Dr Atta-ur-Rehman prayed that the respondents may be directed to appoint a qualified person of international eminence and proven ability who has made significant contribution to higher education as teacher, researcher or administrator, as regular Chairperson, HEC for a period of four years, on such terms and conditions as it may determine in a transparent manner, immediately as prescribed under the law.
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