HEC PhD scholars abroad in quandary
Scholars doing PhD abroad in a quandary over HEC's status
Islamabad, April 06: Panic gripped the scholars studying in various international universities under Higher
Education Commission (HEC) scholarships, as they are not sure of what would
happen to them after the change in the legal status of the HEC.
are currently 4,975 scholars studying abroad under various scholarship
programmes who are clueless about their future as the bond they have signed with
the HEC would automatically come to an end if any change takes place in its
Newspaper has received dozens of emails of the scholars
who have inquired about the legal status of the HEC after devolution. The
students were worried about the funding process in future and more importantly
the future of the country.
Anwar Shah, PhD student at the University of
Melbourne on HEC scholarship is one such perturbed student. "My personal opinion
is that HEC is doing good job for the promotion of higher education. All
scholars of HEC are supposed to come back and serve the country. I have observed
here that all Pakistani students who are not on HEC scholarship are not
interested to come back," he said.
He said that uncertainty about HEC was
neither better for students like us neither for our beloved country. "At the
moment I am not sure whether I will be able to complete my PhD or not. And there
are hundreds of students like me," he mentioned.
Shah opined that HEC
must remain as an independent entity as its independence has provided chance to
average people like us to get scholarship on merit; otherwise it was just a
wishful thinking in the past.
The other students who have expressed their
grave concern over the future of HEC included Aliya Gul (economics), Shabbir
Ahmed (economics), Mohammad Akbar Shahid (veterinary sciences) and Babar Hussain
The students were of the view that their future and the
future of the country would be at stake if HEC devolved to provinces. "We are
aware of the condition of schools and colleges in provinces. What to talk about
universities and scholarships," said one of the students.
privy to this scribe revealed that there were some scholars who have written to
HEC and threatened if any change made against the bond. "The students said that
they would approach court if any change takes place in the legal status of the
HEC," he said.
He said that legally the bond signed between HEC and the
scholars could not be cancelled and any party who would abolish the bond would
have to face the music.
"A party could approach the court against the
other party who is responsible for breaking the bond," he said.
HEC Executive Director Dr Sohail Naqvi said that it has been
categorically clarified by the government that all scholarship programmes would
continue, however, the mechanism to deal with this particular subject is still
to be revealed.
While talking about the bond, he said that there was a
possibility that the contents of the bond would be transferred to the successor
organization, however, he was not sure about that either.
"thes paper were so easy and this type of paper a little child can do easily without any confusion so i request to you that please pepare the paper like aga khan board"
Name: aftab alikanhar
City, Country: sukkur, pakistan
"Yes I agree the scholars may be confused due to the recent issues. I have not seen any one who has shown the other face of the wall. can any one answer the following questions 1. What goes wrong if the body is devolved and body is shifted to Priovinces with a smoth transition.? 2. Was HEC fair enough with dealing with subjects like ART, Architecture, Urban Planning? 3. Out of 10000 Scholarships only 860 were granted to Sind (of which majority goes to KU as Ex chairman was from there once) and 1500 to Baluchistan (Only few locals were given scholarships and all other were from Punjab. specially in BUITEMS ex VC mr Yaqub Chaudary specially organized a compain of filling faculty posts with Punjab and then in months recommended those people abroad. I believe non of the clever men will serve Poor Baluchistan whose resource was used to feed them for 5 years abroad. 4. Did HEC tried to minimize the gaps of marking between the Boards. There is a certain discrimination in marking standards at Inter level. eg The topper of Baluchistan baord gets marks between 70-75% while the it is around 90-95 in Sind and Baluchistan. This is a bench mark for selection for scholarships and deserving students remain behind due to illogical marking standards. I dont know the reason behind the media and so -called civil socity on their partisan role."
Name: Tariq Ahmed
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$250m US aid for HEC stopped
Islamabad: Under the government's decision of scheduled devolving of Higher Education Commission
(HEC) to provinces, US has immediately put on hold 250 million dollar aid meant
for foreign scholarships and research for Pakistani students.
a private news channel, Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) Dr. Javaid
Laghari said that a lady representative of USAID Monday held meeting with him
and apprised of USAID's decision to hold on $250 million aid to HEC.
said USAID was to give HEC $250 million for higher studies and research and
development work of Pakistani students this year. He said that officials of US
embassy told him that USAID could hardly maintain contacts with each
Meanwhile, World Bank has also hinted at putting on hold a $300
million loan to HEC for higher education of Pakistani students over the
uncertainty of latter's future after government's decision to transfer
commission to provinces, he revealed. The news
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Govt sticks to HEC devolution plan
Islamabad: The government has refused to listen to the increasing voices against devolution of the Higher Education
Commission (HEC) under the 18th amendment, although the institution had played a
major role in improving university education over the last one decade.
Since the announcement of the HEC's devolution plan by the Chairman,
Parliamentary Commission on the Implementation of 18th amendment, Senator Raza
Rabbani in the last week of March, the academicians have largely been opposing
Besides protest demonstrations by the HEC scholars and students of local
universities against the government decision, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz
(PML-N) also joined the chorus, asking the ruling PPP to take back its earlier
verdict on the future of the commission.
According to the HEC officials, the status of the commission which is an
autonomous body is very much protected under the 18th amendment in its fourth
schedule. Officials of the HEC say key provisions covered under the federal
legislative list of the new amendment have direct link to the higher education
sector of the country. Hence the HEC could not be devolved to provinces as
announced by Senator Rabbani.
These key provisions are: (a) all regulatory authorities established under a
federal law (b) national planning and national economic coordination of
scientific and technological research (c) legal, medical and other professions
(d) standards in institutions for higher education and research, scientific and
technical institutions (e) inter-provincial matters and coordination.
Whereas, according to Rabbani, under the 18th amendment, HEC stands dissolved
to the provinces and it is a just matter of a formal issuance of the
notification to this effect.
He said the HEC act would be revisited and reframed in the aftermath of the
The 18th amendment has given the eight-member implementation commission the
powers to issue orders, undertake proceedings and make amendments to
regulations, enactments, notifications, rules or orders as may be necessary.
According to Senator Rabbani, a separate commission would be constituted
under the cabinet division to look after verifications of degrees with no role
of whatsoever as a funding agency, like the HEC had been doing in the past.
HEC's top bosses said when first news about the HEC's
devolution under the new amendment broke, they had a detailed discussion with
the authorities concerned who assured that the commission would not be
They said, of late, when they came to know about the implementation
commission's final decision on the status of the HEC, they had another meeting
with Mr Raza Rabbani led commission and again briefed them about perils that
would entail for university education in the country following HEC removal from
the national scene.
However, they said, despite best efforts, they failed to convince Senator
Rabbani led commission about the importance of the HEC in improving the level of
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Ahsan Iqbal, chief spokesperson
for the PML-N termed the decision of devolving the HEC as an irreparable loss to
the university education and research in the country. "It the federal government
does not take back its decision, people will perceive it a revengeful act by the
ruling party against the commission for taking an independent stand on the issue
of verification of lawmakers' degrees", said Mr Iqbal.
Mr Iqbal, who was also member of the 27-member parliamentary committee which
recommended 18th Amendment, said the PML-N had submitted a dissent note on the
issue of devolution of education ministry to the provinces. He said in all
federations of the world, education remained a centralized department therefore
the government should reconsider its decision of HEC's devolution.
In the Senate on Tuesday, opposition leader, Senator Wasim Sajjad of the
PML-Q while moving a bill for the amendment to bring back education ministry
under the federal control, said every wrong could be rectified. "If we have made
a mistake in devolving education ministry to the provinces, it can definitely be
rectified," said Senator Sajjad. Dawn
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Students, teachers out to save sinking ship of HEC
Islamabad: Considering protest demonstration as a last straw to stop devolution
of Higher Education Commission (HEC), hundreds of university students, faculty
members of universities, educationists and officials of HEC on Tuesday held a
protest in front of HEC Secretariat.
All voices were requesting Prime
Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, who is the controlling authority of the HEC, to
intervene and stop the process of devolution in the larger interest of the
Holding banners, placards, and Pakistani flags, to show
solidarity for a cause to salvage the HEC pride, earned in last decade and its
future fragmentation, the protestors raised full throat slogans 'Save HEC, Save
Education, Save the nation', 'Stop disintegration of HEC' and 'HEC khappay'.
They also requested Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary to
take suo motu action on this particular issue.
Over 2,000 protestors
gathered in front of HEC Secretariat Sector H-9 were of their opinion that
staging protests on the roads was the only option left to convince the
government to revert its decision of devolution of the commission to
"There is an impending disaster looming in front of us
regarding devolving the functions of the HEC to the provinces that has been
decided by the cabinet (on the recommendation of a parliamentary committee on
devolution headed by Raza Rabbani) to tear higher education to shreds and hand
over the pieces to the provinces," students maintained with wrath.
occasion, senior teaching staff members from QAU, IIUI, NUML, AIOU, NUST, and
others said the HEC was created as an autonomous federal regulatory institution
with the prime minister of Pakistan as its controlling authority. The
composition of the commission reflects a balanced federal structure with
representation from each province, as well as the secretary education and
secretary science and technology, together with eminent academic and research
experts, they said. "All powers and functions of the HEC defined under its
legislation are covered and protected in the provisions of the 18th Amendment.
But, alas, who cares about what is legal and what is not," they
The senior faculty members of various universities on the
occasion said that Pakistan had made remarkable progress during 2002-2008 in
higher education. "There was a 600 % increase in scientific publications in
international journals and a 1,000 per cent increase in citations in this
period. Today, several of our universities are ranked among the top 500. The
University of Karachi was ranked at 223 in the world, NUST at 260 in the world
and Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) at 270 in the world, in the field of natural
sciences. This is no ordinary achievement after decades of stagnation. The World
Bank, USAID and the British Council published comprehensive reports on the
higher education sector, applauding it and calling it "a silent revolution",
The protestors pleaded government to stop this suicidal
madness. "Something good happened in Pakistan after some 55 years of neglect.
Let us not destroy this wonderful initiative," they added. Daily times
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More unconstitutional devolution in the pipeline
Islamabad: Not just the highly respected institution HEC but many other departments and ministries are
being devolved to the provinces, though they are not authorised by the 18th
Amendment, the latest example being the Ministry of Women Development
The unfortunate part of this story is that the Implementation
Commission led by a more credible Senator Mian Raza Rabbani is violating the
constitution. Already the government is stuck in a major row with its allies and
the opposition over the unconstitutional devolution of the Higher Education
Commission as PML-N and even MQM have come out strongly in favour of the
Documents reveal that Rabbani's Commission is heading for the
unconstitutional devolution of the Ministry of Women Development. The
Commission, through letter bearing no. 3(89)/2011-IC-1 dated 31st March, 2011,
has called the high-ups of the MoWD to present its stance in its next meeting
scheduled for April 7, 2011 for devolution of the ministry.
The MoWD has
already presented its view before Senate Standing committee and has asserted
that the functions of the Women Deployment Ministry were not covered in the
Concurrent List therefore it would be unconstitutional to devolve this key
Mian Raza Rabbani and the other members of the Implementation
Commission were not available and SMS messages sent to their cell numbers were
not replied till the filing of this report. Rabbani was asked to respond to the
question: "Why MoWD is being devolved when it is not covered in the Concurrent
List? Isn't it unconstitutional? Why HEC is being devolved while its functions
are covered in Federal Legislative List and not in the Concurrent List? It is
being said that HEC is being made to pay for its tough stand on verification of
degrees of parliamentarians. Is it true?"
Importantly the MoWD is
neither covered in Concurrent List nor in the Federal Legislative List. "Other
ministries including for Human Rights; Information Technology; Kashmir Affairs
and Gilgit-Baltistan; Narcotics Control; Overseas Pakistanis; States and
Frontier Regions; Textile are also not covered in any of the lists but they are
being retained in the centre while Implementation Commission is going to devolve
MoWD," said a key member of MoWD after presenting her view point before the
Sources also said that a division in the Cabinet Secretariat
was established in 1979 but in 1989 Ms Benazir Bhutto gave it the status of a
full-fledged ministry. "Article 25, 27 and 34 of the constitution clearly state
and cover the functions of the MoWD," said the sources.
that Implementation Commission can only devolve those subjects which are in the
Concurrent List and can not touch any other subject therefore devolving MoWD
will be unconstitutional as it is not covered in the forty-six items of the
The unconstitutional acts of Implementation Commission
do not end here as the commission has also okayed the devolution of Higher
Education Commission, whose functions are fully covered in the Federal
Legislative List. It is believed that HEC is being made to pay for its tough
stand on verification of degrees of parliamentarians.
Even the chairman
Higher Education Commission along with Vice-Chancellors of various universities
have given a presentation to Mian Raza Rabbani and the Commission presenting the
clear picture of HEC's status but to no avail. What the government is going to
do with HEC is not devolution but segmentation of HEC as key functions of HEC
would be gifted to various federal ministries.
A recent cabinet meeting
has decided to pass on the HEC's functions to the Cabinet Division, Islamabad
Capital Territory (ICT), Ministry for Inter-Provincial Coordination and Ministry
of Foreign Affairs; Affairs relating to the equivalence of degrees, verification
of degrees, standards of doctorate etc will be dealt by the Cabinet Division;
universities situated in Islamabad and its vicinity would be looked after by
Islamabad Capital Territory for the first time in history; foreign scholarships
will now be administered by the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination. By
this way the process of degree verification of lawmakers and public servants
will now be handled by the Cabinet Division.
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HEC dissolution not a constitutional requirement: PML-N
Islamabad: PML-N parliamentarian and party's information secretary Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday claimed
that the 18th Amendment never meant to dissolve the Higher Education Commission
"The dissolution of the HEC will cause irreparable loss to higher
education and research programmes in the country," Ahsan Iqbal, MNA, said while
addressing a press conference here at the party's office. Ahsan was member of
the parliamentary committee that prepared the draft of the 18th
He pointed out that if the decision to do away with the HEC
was not withdrawn, it would mean that parliament wanted to exact revenge from
the commission over the fake degrees issue. He recalled that in view of severe
shortage of PhD scholars in the country, the government in 1999 initiated a
programme of international scholarship under the Vision 2010. "The programme was
meant to provide the country's science and technology sector with highly
qualified manpower," he said. He said that General Musharraf stopped this
programme but Dr. Attaur Rehman restarted it and raised an independent
institution like the HEC, which in the last eight years produced thousands of
Ahsan Iqbal said that the PML-N had recorded its
dissenting note on the issue of the HEC during the parliamentary committee's
meeting dealing with the 18th Amendment.
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Bahria University defends sackings
Islamabad: The Bahria University finally came out with a clarification of the ugly incident of
roughing up a professor and sacking two of them after they criticised the
The BU clarification issued on Tuesday said: It is thereafter clarified that Mr Qamar Riaz referred to as
Top Professor in the said report is just a Lecturer in the Department of
Management Sciences, who during the course of the address of the chairman HEC on
March 31, 2011 tried to disrupt the proceedings by asking questions irrelevant
to the main theme of the topic. He was, as a result, asked to leave the
auditorium, only after repeatedly being advised by the Rector to remain focused
on the topic. Mr Qamar, however, continued to create fuss and failed to restrain
This is to also further clarify that the above named lecturer,
was neither roughed up as reported, nor manhandled by any official in spite of
his arrogant attitude, rude behaviour and highly derogatory remarks about the
He was, however, allowed to attend his routine business the
following day. The same afternoon he started instigating students to rise and
agitate against the management. He was seen displaying a banner on his chest
"Main Nahin Manta," handcuffed himself and with his mouth gagged, kept roaming
around the campus to muster support of students and the faculty, in the exercise
in which he failed. Had the management taken a hard line, he could have been
stopped forcefully. The entire faculty of the university, also present during
the proceedings of the 31st of March 2011, took due notice of his unwarranted
action on the campus, which was tantamount to creating a law and order situation
and unrest amongst the students body of the institution, and which could not
have been permitted under any circumstances.
In another report published
in the same newspaper on the 5th of April 2011 without certifying facts wherein
it has been incorrectly stated that a second professor has been sacked, and the
Rector flies on vacation. The factual position is that Dr Shafqat Hameed had
resigned as the HOD of Management Sciences Department and accordingly was
relieved of his responsibilities as per the relevant rules covering the subject.
The Rector Vice Admiral (retd) Mohammad Haroon is on an official visit
to Hong Kong to attend the annual conference of Association (ACU). The reported
news that Dr Shafqat was under pressure to allow admission of certain students
not fulfilling the laid down criteria, is vehemently denied by the management
and is termed as totally fabricated and concocted. His version that his car was
surrounded by that of an agency is also totally denied.
To preserve the
very peaceful and conducive academic environment of the campus, for which Bahria
University is known for several years now, the university administration was
left with no other option but to terminate the services of Mr Qamar Riaz under
clause 3 of his employment agreement, which allows termination of contract by
either party by serving three months notice, or payment or surrender three
months basic pay in lieu thereof. As such, no unlawful act or violation of rules
has taken place in this regard.
To add here is the fact that the
university runs its affairs strictly in accordance with the academic policies,
and rules made by its statutory authorities. The management believes in the
supremacy of rules and would expect others to follow the prescribed norms and
code of conduct very much required for the promotion of quality education, and
character building of students to groom them to become good citizens.
Umar Cheema adds: We recognise Bahria University's right to clarify
situation, however, it should have been done without compromising the facts. It
has been stated that the professor under question, Qamar Riaz, was not roughed
up but only asked to leave the auditorium after he created fuss.
from the university's administration, scores of students have confirmed the
brutal treatment meted out to the professor who ran a campaign on social network
websites mobilising colleagues for standing with the victim, the teacher sending
a strong message to the administration that restraint must be exercised dealing
with the dissenting voices.
Likewise, if the professor was wrong and
enjoying no support of the students' community, why the warning notices were
displayed at each nook and corner by the administration directing them not to
attend the peaceful protests staged outside the campus at the Shaheen Chowk.
The degree of repression in this armed forces-run university is apparent
from the fact that a student told the top administration in the presence of this
correspondent that he together with his colleagues feel studying in a ghettoized
environment. A number of other students agree with his colleague who said they
repent their decision of enrollment there.
The BU administration has
further explained that the victim professor was allowed to attend his routine
business the day after the unpleasant incident. This appears ridiculous as the
professor was delivered a termination order the same day without either serving
a show cause notice or holding an inquiry into his alleged misconduct.
Clarifying its position on the sacking of the Head of the Department of
Management Sciences, Dr Shafqat Hameed, the BU clarification said he had
submitted resignation well before the incident and that was processed
accordingly relieving him of duties. The university administration has twisted
the facts. He was not relieved but terminated instead, a fact confirmed through
Dr Shafqat. It was only done after he voiced his support to professor Qamar
Riaz, his subordinate.
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Kabul varsity students protest burning of Quran
Kabul: Around 250 young Afghans gathered at the Kabul University on Tuesday shouting 'death to America'
on the fifth day of protests against the burning of a Holy Quran by a
fundamentalist US pastor.
Thousands of people have taken to the streets
in protests around Afghanistan. There has been deadly violence in two cities,
although most protests ended with nothing more dramatic than burning of flags
Twelve people died in Kandahar over Saturday and Sunday,
when demonstrators waving white Taliban flags burnt cars, attacked the police,
smashed shops and sacked a girls' high school. On Friday, seven foreign UN staff
and five Afghan protesters were killed after demonstrators over-ran their office
in normally peaceful Mazar-e-Sharif city in the north.
demonstrators, who included both university students and outsiders, were staying
on the university campus, said Hashmat Stanekzai, spokesman for the Kabul. The news
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