Published On: Tue, Oct 9th, 2012

prime minister’s decision not to ‘touch’ the Higher Education Commission

PM’s directives being ignored in HEC caseIslamabad,
May 10: Ignoring the prime minister’s decision not to ‘touch’ the Higher Education Commission (HEC) till the next National Finance Commission (NFC) Award, the Implementation Commission is preparing a legal draft for constitution of a new commission in place of the HEC, sources said here on Monday.

Sources said that Mian Raza Rabbani, who had threatened to quit as chairman of the Implementation Commission after his resignation as a federal minister if the HEC was not devolved and replaced by a new commission under the Cabinet Division, is now determined to constitute the Commission for Standard Higher Education (CSHE) through a legal draft to be presented in the parliament.

Sources claimed that Mian Raza Rabbani has yet to give answers to a couple of questions raised by one of the senior members of the Implementation Commission, saying “Does Implementation Commission enjoy mandate to carry out legislation? Why independent and well-reputed HEC is being replaced by a new commission under the Cabinet Division at the federal level?”

Sources said that Mian Raza Rabbani defended his decision to constitute the CSHE on the ground that if this step is avoided it would affect provincial autonomy but three members of the Implementation Commission recently clearly told this correspondent that the establishment of the CSHE has nothing to do with provincial autonomy.

Sources said many members of the ruling PPP were of the view that the HEC, which received funds worth billions of rupees from the federal government, has been showing ‘indecent’ behaviour in the degree verification process.

It is pertinent to mention here that setting aside its earlier stance now the Implementation Commission has agreed not to devolve key functions, including curricula, standardisation of education and foreign scholarships, but its chairman is apparently quite determined to put an end to the existing HEC.

HEC Chairman Dr. Javaid Laghari, who effectively raised the issue of devolution of HEC, is now avoiding ‘media exposure’ and pursuing wait-and-see policy.

The former HEC chairman, Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman, when contacted, said that people were unable to understand government’s policies because on one hand the prime minister has announced that the government would not touch the HEC till the next NFC Award, but now they were preparing legal draft for constitution of a new commission.

He said that the Supreme Court, while hearing petition against the devolution of the HEC, categorically stated that the new legislation regarding the HEC should not be contradictory to the Presidential Ordinance 2002, claiming “The Supreme Court also said that if there is any contradiction then the ordinance would be given priority over new legislation.”

Mian Raza Rabbani, who always avoided offering comments to this correspondent, again continued to do so. He was not available to give his version despite repeated attempts.

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