ISLAMABAD: Federal Government on Friday appointed Engineer Ahmed Farooq Bazai acting chairman of Higher Education Commission (HEC).
Bazai is Vice Chancellor of Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences. Dr. Bazi is also member of HEC.
In March this year, the government while amending HEC Ordinance reduced the four-year term of HEC chairperson to two years and subsequently removed Dr Tariq Banuri as the HEC chairman.
Mr Banuri was appointed as head of HEC by former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in 2018 out of a panel of three.
However, Dr Banuri challenged his removal before the Sindh High Court, which had directed the federal government to keep the post of Chairperson vacant.
So the federal government following the Singh High Court directives halted the process of appointing new chairperson, who will be appointed after a competitive process.
Meanwhile, on Friday, the education ministry gave acting charge of Chairman HEC to commission member Engineer Ahmed Farooq Bazai. “By operation of the Higher Education Commission (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, Dr. Tariq Banuri has ceased to hold office of the Chairperson, Higher Education Commission w.e.f March 26, 2021,” read the notification.
It said : “ Vide order dated 29-03-2021 passed by Hon’ble Sindh High Court in Suit ...the post of the Chairperson shall kept vacant. Therefore, no new appointment shall be made to fill the post of Chairperson till the order of the Court remains in field,” it said.
The notification further said: “Accordingly, the controlling authority is pleased to nominate Engr. Ahmed Farooq Bazai, Vice Chancellor, Balochistan Univesity of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences, Balochistan, Member, Higher Education Commission to act as Chairperson in terms of Section 8(3) of the HEC Ordinance, 2002.” However, notification said: “The operation of this notification shall be subject to the order(s) passed by Sindh High Court in Suit No. 774/2021.”
A source in ministry of education said that in the absence of chairman HEC several policy decision has been facing delay mainly, the role of HEC chairman is important ahead of budget.
HEC every year deals billions of rupees budget as for this ongoing year, the government allocated Rs 93 billion for non-development and development expenditure of the higher education sector of the country.
According to the budget document, Rs29.4 billion is for development budget and Rs64 billion for non development expenditure.
Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2021