• Inquiry committee takes into custody mobile phones of former board chairman, controller examinations
• SSC Urdu paper scheduled to be held on Monday reprinted

RAWALPINDI: The inquiry committee formed by Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz in the papers leak scandal has suspended seven officials of the confidential press of the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) Rawalpindi and borrowed staff from the BISE Gujranwala to reprint the papers to continue the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) annual exam 2022.

The three-member committee was formed to probe the leakage of the papers of mathematics (evening session) and chemistry, biology, computer science (morning session) of the SSC Part-II annual exam.

The committee is headed by Director External Linkages University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Lahore, Prof Dr Mohammad Shafiq and comprises Director (Administration) Colleges Lahore Sahibzada Faisal Khursheed and a cyber crime expert from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

On Saturday, the committee prepared a preliminary report and on its recommendations seven officials of the official confidential press were suspended and replaced by new staff.

The suspended officials are press in charge Mohammad Arshad, deputy Wafa Ahmed Sher, Mohammad Asif, Adeel Qureshi and Tanveerul Rehman. Besides, two daily-wage employees have also been suspended.

Sources told Dawn that the inquiry committee had also taken the mobile phones of former board chairman Dr Khalid Mehmood and controller examinations Shahinshah Babar Khan along with that of confidential press officials.

They said a senior officer from the FIA cyber crime wing had started an investigation and all mobile phones were in his custody. The sources said the committee members also started questioning other senior officials of the board.

When contacted, BISE Rawalpindi spokesman Arslan Cheema confirmed that the the official confidential press officials had been suspended, adding that the board had made arrangements to reprint the papers.

Prof Nasir Mahmood Awan, controller examinations, told Dawn that the Urdu paper which was scheduled to be held on Monday had been reprinted.

“We have asked the distributors and the centre in-charge to collect it from banks and not open it before 8:30am for the morning session and 1:30pm in the evening session,” he said.

Mr Awan said there would be no problem in coming papers as the government was vigilant and had assigned the Special Branch to keep an eye in and around the examination centres.

Meanwhile, a workshop on examination matters for all the distributors, mobile inspectors, chairman of the monitoring squad of the SSC annual examination was organised by the BISE on the special direction of Commissioner Noorul Amin Mengal at the board office Morgah.

The purpose of conducting the workshop was to ensure foolproof arrangements for the examinations.

Special instructions have been issued to all the examination centres to prepare a daily report and send it to the chairman/controller’s office.

Prof Ghulam Mohammad Jhaggar, former chairman/senior member Special Committee, who conducted the workshop, said the examination staff was committed to solving all issues.

All exams are being conducted under a new administration. Matters are being supervised by the commissioner/chairman himself, he said.

“We had to take tough decisions on an emergency basis,” Mr Jhaggar said, adding that, “we suspended the staff of the official confidential press and new staff has been immediately deployed.

He said strict surveillance of all the centres had been started by an intelligence agency, and on the report of an IT expert and the inquiry team, arrests and FIRs were expected soon.

The controller examinations said the paper mafia had been active and “we had to work hard to stop its activity”.

“We will defeat the mafia and restore the credibility of the board,” he said.

Prof Jhaggar said he would take stern action against the staff who would open the question papers before 8:30am and 1:30pm, adding that the exams would be made transparent at all costs.

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2022

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