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PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Thursday ordered the provincial police chief to ensure installation of signal jammers at all centres for the Sept 23 test for admission to public sector medical colleges in the province and warned it won’t tolerate paper leak in future.

A bench consisting of Justice Qaiser Rasheed and Justice Qalandar Ali Khan also ordered the Education Testing and Evaluation Agency (Etea) executive director to ensure that candidates don’t take cellphones in examination centres.

The government had canceled the Aug 19 ‘entrance test’ after the social media reported a paper leak before the test.

PHC warns it won’t tolerate future paper leak

The bench warned the Etea official that the court would direct the National Accountability Bureau, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, to conduct an in-depth inquiry into the affairs of the agency in case it failed to ensure the paper’s secrecy.

It ordered the Etea and NAB officials and provincial police officer to devise a joint strategy for ensuring transparency in the entrance tests conducted for admissions in medical and engineering colleges.

The bench ordered the development of foolproof mechanisms to prevent paper leak.

It asked PPO Salahuddin Mehsud to ensure that policemen are deployed to the entrance test centres in the province in an appropriate number and irrelevant people aren’t allowed to get close to these centres.

The bench fixed Sept 26 for next hearing into the case asking Etea executive director Professor Israr Ahmad to ensure that the Sept 23 test is held in a transparent manner and nobody manages to leak the paper.

The Etea head said the candidates managed to take cellphones to test centres despite the agency’s strict checks.

He said if signal jammers were installed by the police, the situation could be improved.

The entrance test was first scheduled on July 15 but it was postponed due to heavy rains in some parts of the province that day.

It was held on Aug 19 at examination centres in Peshawar, Haripur, Swat, Dera Ismail Khan, Mardan, Kohat and Malakand.

However, the test was cancelled on Aug 24 after an intelligence agency during initial probe confirmed paper leak. The intelligence agency had proposed the formation of a joint investigation team for looking into the matter.

The bench had taken a suo moto notice of the issue few days ago during the hearing into another petition filed by a girl student, who sought the rescheduling of the test to allow her to perform Haj.

During hearing, Justice Qaiser Rasheed observed that thousands of students sat the test and there was anxiety and concern among them and their parents as the status of such an important test had become doubtful.

He wondered how the candidates would trust tests to be conducted by Etea.

The court observed that students had spent a large sum of money preparing for the entrance test by joining coaching academies and paying test fee but in return, the test continued to be delayed for one reason or the other.

It observed that two low-grade employees of Etea including a driver and a clerk had been arrested for paper leak, whereas the authorities spared high-ups.

NAB, KP, director general Farmanullah Khan said the court issued orders, the bureau would look into the affairs of the entrance test.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2018