ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Cabinet Division chairman on Tuesday formed a subcommittee to investigate alleged misconduct and mismanagement in National Testing Service’s examination system.

“We feel that transparency is being compromised,” said the committee chairman Syed Aminul Haque.

The committee took up the issue after the matter was referred by the National Assembly to the committee regarding leakage of test papers of private testing agencies hired by the government.

MNA Sahibzada Sibghatullah particularly alleged corruption in examination system conducted by NTS in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The committee members observed that besides the testing agency in question, other testing agencies too lacked capacity and were marred by mismanagement.

The National Assembly referred the issue to the committee after leakage of test papers

“This committee therefore, also feels the need for a thorough discussion aimed at streamlining their working and strengthening regulatory mechanism,” Aminul Haque asserted.

He constituted a subcommittee with MNA Rana Iradat Sharif Khan as its Convener and MNAs Mohammad Hashim, Raza Rabbani Khar and Mohsin Dawar as members.

The subcommittee has been mandated to discuss and suggest amendments in law, rules and regulation to ensure transparency in affairs of testing services.

The subcommittee has also been asked to seek assistance of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA), Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and other departments if required in order to complete the task assigned.

While discussing the agenda item on Recovery of Mortgage-backed Security Bill, 2019, members asked the State Bank to provide details of pending cases with banking courts regarding mortgage financing.

The committee observed that protection of rights of the lending institutions and the borrowers needed to be protected.

The committee decided to take up the bill on receipt of information from the State Bank.

The committee also discussed the status of compliance of recommendation of the standing committee with regard to allocation of Pakistan Baitul Mal asked funds to the destitute especially in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan.

The Committee appreciated the assistance programme of Baitul Mal to deserving students, patients and physically challenged persons.

Briefing the committee about the working of Pakistan Baitul Mal (PBM), its Managing Director Aon Abbas Buppi said some 350 staff members of the PBM had been promoted after 13 years and trainings had been imparted to 700 to improve services.

The committee was, however, not entirely satisfied with measures taken to promote tourism in the country. Some members argued that the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporate website was boring and unattractive. Another MNA pointed out that PTDC Instagram page has less than 2,000 followers.

They even suggested that the name of the Instgram page should also be changed from PTDC to something more attractive and one that draws attention of foreign tourists.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2020