All 3 HECs not on the same page: Ahsan Iqbal
HED Punjab inquired legal status of PHEC: Dr. Mukhtar
LAHORE/KARACHI: Those who are saying higher education is devolved to provinces under the 18th Amendment, they are totally wrong because the Punjab and Sindh higher education commissions are controversial and illegal entities according to the Supreme Court decision and the Constitution of Pakistan, said Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman, former chairman HEC and former federal minister for science & technology.
During an exclusive interview with The Educationist, known educationist Dr Atta said it was very unfortunate situation. However, he emphasised that: “The decision of the Supreme Court is very clear. When I filed the petition that the higher education should be federal subject, the Supreme Court decision is very very clear.”
He said ultimately they (provincial commissions) will be needed to dissolve. Lower education has been devolved to the provinces but higher education must be protected under the Constitution and must remain a federal subject.
When contacted Pakistan Higher Education Commission Chairman Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad said: “According to the HEC Ordinance and order of the Supreme Court we will be doing our working as we are doing already. “I heard that the HED Punjab send a letter to PHEC for clearance of its legal status. Final decision would be by the Council of Common Interest (CCI), he remarked.”
Punjab Higher Education Commission Director Dr Nizamuddin was not available for comments. However, PHEC Director and Spokesperson Shahid Saroya told The Educationist that he didn’t know regarding any such letter issued by HED Punjab to the PHEC. “We don’t have any information regarding this (letter),” Saroya added.
Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, who is also head of a committee working with the CCI on this issue, agreed that there were serious issues between the HEC and PHECs. In a recent statement he said, “The three HECs – federal, Punjab and Sindh – were on the same page on different matters. The committee is authorised to decide the role of the central and provincial HECs in the post-18th amendment scenario and in the light of the committee’s recommendations the CCI will decide the matter.
“We have submitted a preliminary report to the prime minister in this regard. Sindh may have some issues with the HEC as it neither attended (committee’s) last three meetings, nor replied to the committee’s letters,” the minister said.
Ahsan is also heading the committee Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif constituted after Sindh sought more autonomy (in degree recognition) and funds, with the Council of Common Interest (CCI).
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