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HEC GRE controversial condition withdrawn

HEC succumbs to teachers on GRE
Islamabad, Aug 05: Higher Education commission has finally withdrawn its controversial condition of passing International Subject GRE for eight years.

The condition was revoked on August 3 when teaching community in all the public-sector universities at the call of Federation of All Pakistan Academic Staff Associations observed Black Day against the delaying tactics adopted by HEC in accepting FAPUASA demands.

Dr. Suhail Naqvi, Executive Director, HEC, announced the withdrawal of the GRE condition while addressing professors, heads of departments and deans in Punjab University amidst black banners adorning all around at PU in connection with the protest day. The GRE issue was raised in the meeting by FAPUASA President Dr Mahr Saeed Akhtar.

Dr. Naqvi said that GRE will be replaced by a local test of that level. He also assured to "process other issues rapidly," said Dr. Mahr on Wednesday evening. The FAPUASA chief regretted that HEC did not accept the right of Advance Studies and Research Board of respective universities to recognise journals.

It may be mentioned that after Academic Council and ASR&B, even the Syndicate of QAU rejected the much condemned condition of GRE for PhD admissions. The HEC representative at the Syndicate, however, recorded his dissenting note over the decision.

Earlier, Black Day was observed in local universities like all public sector universities in the federating units, Gilgit-Baltistan, Islamabad and Azad Kashmir. Teachers in Quaid-i-Azam University, Allama Iqbal Open University and National University of Modern languages wore black armbands. Banners were displayed at AIOU, which were forcibly removed by the AIOU administration reportedly in a bid to pitch the new vice-chancellor against ASA, but failed to create a conflict.

In the meantime, Dr Mahr Saeed and Professor Kaleemullah, General Secretary of FAPUASA, condemned the attitude and behaviour of AIOU administration for trying to sabotage the Black Day. Dr. Eatzaz Ahmad and Dr. Gulraiz Akhter, President and Secretary of Quaid-i-Azam University ASA, also condemned the harsh treatment shown by AIOU administration towards peaceful protest of ASA. The news

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Fake degree legislator ordered to return salary
Islamabad: After weeks of silence on the issue of fake degrees, the Supreme Court, which had stirred up the controversy by ordering verification of educational certificates of parliamentarians, indicated on Wednesday how it wanted politicians who had used counterfeit degrees to be treated.

The court ordered that Haji Nasir Mehmood, a PML-N member of the Punjab assembly from Gujrat (PP-111) whose degree was found to be fake, should return the salary and allowances he had earned as a parliamentarian.

"The burden to prove a valid, genuine and bona fide qualification lies on the appellant," the judgment, which had been reserved earlier, said.

Some observers here said the order meant that the parliamentarians accused of holding fake degrees would themselves have to prove their innocence.

The court called for exemplary punishment for legislators who betrayed the trust of their voters by using fake degrees to contest election. "How a visionary leadership could emerge in the country in such circumstances?" it asked.

Authored by Justice Javed Iqbal, the verdict said: "Nothing good can be expected from such fakers who not only betrayed the confidence of voters of their constituency, but cheated them in a shameless manner…. How can they watch the legitimate interest of people with a dead conscience which never pricked while defrauding the nation? They deserve exemplary punishment so that such shameful instances could not be repeated."

Dismissing Haji Nasir Mehmood's appeal for being without merit, the court asked him to hand over the money in two weeks. "In case of failure, the money calculated will be recovered as arrears of land revenue," the order said.

Mr Mehmood had obtained the degree from the University of East in Hyderabad, Sindh. In his appeal, he claimed that the relevant record could not be produced because it had been misplaced and damaged because the university building had been inundated during a previous flood.

Mr Mehmood had filed the appeal against the Feb 3 order of an election tribunal which unseated him.

PML-Q's Mian Imran Masood, who had filed an election petition under Section 52 of the Representation of Peoples Act 1976, said the degree held by Mr Mehmood was not recognised by the Higher Education Commission.

Although the apex court continued hearing and reserved its judgment, it did not stay the by-election which was won by Haji Imran Zafar, a close relative of Mr Mehmood, in March this year. The court also asked the Election Commission to initiate criminal proceedings against the appellant and said that criminal waste of taxpayers' money could not be allowed.

About the validity of the degree issued by the University of East, the verdict held that it could be safely said that the degree of the university was not recognised. The university, the judgment noted, was established on July 28, 2004, but amazingly certificates relating to 2003 (spring semester) and 2003 (summer semester) were issued before the institution had come into being.

"This speaks volumes about the negative approach of the university. We have no hesitation in our mind that the degree (Exh.DA) produced by the appellant with nomination papers was not recognised by the HEC and, accordingly, it cannot be equated to that of a valid degree and, therefore, he was not qualified under the law to contest the election due to lack of requisite qualification," the judgment said. Dawn

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Abid Sher Ali seeks names of universities from HEC
Islamabad: National Assembly Standing Committee on Education Chairman Abid Sher Ali has sought from the Higher Education Commission (HEC) the names of universities and vice chancellors who are creating impediments in its way to verify degrees of the federal and provincial legislators.

"I appreciate the role and work being done by you without accepting any official pressure but I have learnt that some universities and VCs are obstructing your legal duty. Therefore, I want to know their names so that I can raise the issue in the Supreme Court for action against them and also take it up in the next meeting of the standing committee," Abid Sher said in a letter addressed to HEC Chairman Dr Javed Leghari.

He wrote that it was "our collective responsibility" to decisively move for purging the legislatures from "black sheep" who are defiling the sanctity of parliament. He said that no hindrance would be accepted in the way of degrees' verification. He said the universities and VCs, who were not cooperating with the HEC, would be taken to task for promotion of the noble cause.

"National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza can't issue any directions to me relating to my role as the House body chairman. She has nothing to with my work," Abid Sher said when asked about getting any communication from her in the wake of receipt of a letter from Education Minister Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali in which he complained to her about his role as the committee chairman in the degrees' authentication process.

Abid Sher said even the prime minister has to retract following his strong worded letter to him and say that he has not given any direction or role to the education minister in the process of verification of MP's degrees.

He dismissed the suggestion that of late he was being bypassed and said the HEC was sending its reports to him. He rejected the education minister's view that under the Rules of Business he, as the committee chairman, has no role in such matters.

"I am just doing my job, and if somebody has any doubt about my duties and functions, he should read Rule 227 of the Rules of Business and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly," Abid Sher said. "Who would say that the job of the House body is not accountability? If the parliamentary committees are not to perform this duty, then what is purpose of having them? How can anybody deny our primary duty to catch cheats and liars?"

He said that he has serious doubts about the role being played by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in dealing with bogus degree holing MPs. "The ECP should straightaway unseat counterfeit certificate holding MPs as reported by the HEC and forward their cases to the respective sessions judges for criminal prosecution," he added.

Abid Sher said that by launching its own verification process even after the HEC's confirmation about fake degrees, the ECP was opening Pandora's Box. "When the legal forums like the HEC confirm on the basis of the reports of universities that certain degrees were forged, the ECP should not and could not do anything just to prove otherwise." The news

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