IT is unfortunate that the cabinet division, withdrew, under pressure, the Higher Education Commission’s power to verify degrees and handed it over to the newly-established ministry of national health services, regulations and coordination (May 14).

And what is even more horrible is that this is not exactly the first time that this sort of thing has been attempted.

Since the Higher Education Commission was established as an autonomous organisation, with the prime minister as its controlling authority, the HEC is neither an attached department nor a subordinate office of any ministry or division.

A former Higher Education Commission’s chairman, Dr Attaur Rahman, was very specific on this issue and stated clearly that the caretaker government had no right to harm the autonomy of the HEC and that the notification by the cabinet division is illegal.

The current chairman of the HEC, Dr Javaid R. Laghari, said that the role of verifying degrees could be taken away from the Higher Education Commission’s only through an act of parliament, and he has asked his staff to continue verifying degrees.

He has already written a letter to the caretaker prime minister stating that the notification regarding the transfer of power was against the rules and amounts to contempt of the Supreme Court orders.

His meeting with the caretaker prime minister already was scheduled for May 20, when he will put all facts before the prime minister, requesting him to withdraw the notification.

I hope good sense prevails and the caretaker PM issues orders for immediate withdrawal of the illegal notification.

S.R.H. HASHMI Karachi

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Comments (4)

Muzaffar Ali Qureshi
May 22, 2013 7:46 am
What does the HEC actually do in verification of degrees? It only serves as a post office. HEC forwards the relevant papers provided - if provided - by the candidates. Has it been able to get the degrees of all parliamentarians verified? No. What action has HEC taken against any university that has ignored HEC requests for verification of degrees? Nil. There are many areas where HEC powers need to be trimmed.
May 23, 2013 7:45 am
Undermining the autonomy of the HEC will now result in all verifications being as desired by the corrupt Ministry under bereaucarts. The malafide motivation is obvious
May 23, 2013 7:47 am
Why are leaders keeping quiet on this ? The autonomy of the HEC was an act of Parliament how is the caretaker setup daring to overstep its limited mandate ? SC is silent ?
Muzaffar Ali Qureshi
May 23, 2013 8:39 am
HEC was created by an Ordinance, not an Act of Parliament. Seriously, why are we crying hoarse about HEC 'autonomy' being taken away? Why don't we analyze the functions that HEC is supposed to perform and is performing? Why don't we look at the role of HEC viz. the role of a University in higher education? And, thereby, see where the two coincide or collide.
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