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Quaid-i-Azam University irregularities | Zubaida Jalal scam

Financial irregularities 12 QAU projects
Islamabad, Aug 16, 2008: Financial irregularities, unnecessary delay and mismanagement have been observed in 12 development projects being implemented by the Quaid-i-Azam University thus stressing the need for special audit by the Higher Education Commission (HEC).

The development projects initiated by the university were the up-gradation & strengthening of QAU phase-I, hostel for visiting faculty, strengthening of national institute of historical and cultural research centre of excellence, development & study of magnetic nanostructures, establishment of National Institute of Vacuum Sciences and Technology, National Center for Bio-Informatics, establishment of 5 MV tandem accelerator at Department of Physics, strengthening of Taxila Institute of Asian Civilisation, upgradation & strengthening of Dr Raziuddin Siddiqui Memorial Library, establishment of Experimental Physics Laboratory, Master Trainers in Physics and Up-gradation of QAU Phase-II.

The total cost of these projects were Rs 2182.38 million out of which Rs 1406.83 million were released up to June 2007 but the expenditure remained 1062.516 million which constitute 76 percent of the total release and 49 percent of the total cost.
The total release to the university remained Rs 1495.290 million out of which Rs 1196.346 million were spent up to December 2007, which constitutes 80 percent of the total release.

The project incharge of various development projects are kept changing frequently and expenditure meant for civil work is being used for other purposes. Accounts are not maintained properly as services of professional accountant are not hired to reconcile the accounts of the projects. 
The purchase of equipment and furniture remained delayed and implementation of various projects was poor. It has also been learnt that the releases by the HEC were without observing actual expenditures.

The National Institute of Historical & Cultural Research at the university is still under construction though its PC-I had been approved in 1976. Its construction started in 2004 and had to be completed with in two years.

The project of "Master Trainers in Physics" was started to train the non-Ph.D faculty of Physics department. Foreign faculty had had to be hired for the training in summer as envisaged in the project but local Ph.Ds were hired to train the non-Ph.D faculty and the project was 24 months delayed.
Scope of work of various projects was being changed without approval and professional officials and Independent Project Directors are rarely hired which has led to mismanagement and delay in the implementation of the projects. The Nation

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Zubaida Jalal lands in major financial scam
Islamabad: The former federal minister from Balochistan, Zubaida Jalal, is at the centre of a big scam in the multi-billion rupee education project, as a shocking inquiry report into her alleged role in the financial embezzlement and irregularities has been submitted to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

While the former minister was not available for comments, sources close to her said she would fight the charges at every forum. Once the favourite lady education minister of Musharrafís first cabinet after the military coup of October 12, 1999, Jalal was introduced to the whole world as an enlightened moderate and a role model for the Baloch and Pakistani women.

Sadly, she also has ended up facing serious allegations of misuse of funds at her own residence and offices. She is also facing charges of openly protecting the most corrupt officers who, with her sweet blessings, were making millions of rupees right under her nose from literacy and feeding projects, which were launched in her province to teach and give food to the backward Baloch children in schools.

Jalal was so portrayed to the world for her role in spread of education that even US Secretary of State Ms Rice had invited her to the White House, triggering the speculation that she may one day end up becoming the countryís prime minister.

The shocking allegations have been levelled against Jalal by PMís Inspection Commission (PMIC) inquiry report, saying she presided over the process of payment of millions of rupees in cash given to many dubious companies in the name of renovation of her residence and office and other such expenses without any authorisation.

These investigations were earlier ordered by PM Gilani after receiving reports about massive irregularities in the execution of a project that was launched to provide food to Baloch children between the age of 5 and 12 years.

The PMIC has now submitted a six-page report to PM Gilani, which reveals: ìThere is ample evidence to believe that Irfanullah Khan (main culprit of the scam) had the patronage of Zubaida Jalal and a lady senator from Balochistan, who always saved him from any accountability or action on account of his corruption in the execution of two projects, which he was handling in Balochistan."

The report said Irfanullah was so protected by minister Jalal that after he was suspended on charges of corruption in the Education ministry, he was given another project in Social Welfare Ministry after Jalal was given the portfolio when Shaukat Aziz took the charge as the prime minister.

PM Gilani has been told that the officer being held responsible for the scam was so close to the minister that in the Social Welfare Ministry in 2005, she handed him over a multi-billion project, which was also suspended after serious allegations of corruption.

The amounts were given to project director of Balochistan Irfanaullah Khan to provide food to children in Balochistan schools. But, in the end, it has now been learnt that he, along with the minister, misappropriated the amount.

According to the inquiry report, PM Gilani had directed the PMIC to inquire into alleged financial irregularities committed by those who were executing the non-formal literacy project in Balochistan and then the Tawana Pakistan Project (TPP).

According to the inquiry report, the Benazir Bhutto government had launched the literacy project in 1995 with an amount of Rs 1.2 billion, an amount which was later increased. In 2005, the Ministry of Education initiated an inquiry into the alleged corruption and misappropriation of funds by officers and staff of the NFBE Balochistan.

The 30-page report clearly stated that Irfanullah Khan, who had been director of the NFBE Balochistan for almost 10 years, did not exercise financial and administrative controls expected of him as the head of the provincial office. He indulged in nepotism and excessive spending without following the code formalities. He used his position to provide undue favour to his political benefactors.

As a reward for his corruption, he was given another multi-billion project by the Social Welfare Ministry after Zubaida Jalal took over its charge in 2005. The second project in Balochistan, the TPP project for girls, was approved in 2002 with an outlay of Rs 3 billion for a period of 54 months to address the nutritional needs of school children between the age of 5 and 12 years.

The executing agency was the Ministry of Women Development, Social Welfare and Special Education. The project remained operational till June 2005. Feeding activities were suspended on account of ineffective procedures of execution and lack of proper administration of work. Consequently, a third party evaluation was held to assess the performance of the TPP.

Though the project was suspended, Irfanullah Khan was appointed the National Project Director on June 30, 2005. He was transferred from the Ministry of Education in 2005, shortly after Zubaida Jalal became the minister of social welfare and special education.

The timings of the postings and appointments were clearly indicative of Zubaida Jalalís patronage he enjoyed. Notwithstanding the fact that the project stood suspended, Irfanullah started to spend the fund without proper approval or authorisation in total disregard of the government rules and procedures. ìUnfortunately, the minister Zubaida ignored his activities,î the report said.

Huge amounts were spent on irregular appointments of officer and staff, the report said, adding that big contracts were awarded in violation of government rules and regulations, while the MOUs, which had no legal importance, were signed. Irregular payments were made to various firms on account of base line survey. Payments were also made to a large number of firms and companies without any legal authority.

After the suspension of the project, the Bait-ul-Maal, as one of the executing partners, stopped the payment from its accounts. However, Irfanullah Khan prevailed upon the ministry to get the bank accounts transferred to his organisation. An amount of Rs 571 million in two accounts with the National Bank of Pakistan was put under his control. The expenditures and appointments of personnel made by Irfanullah were far beyond his power as the project director. The report said the two inquiry reports established that Irfanullah Khan enjoyed the political patronage of Zubaida Jalal and one female senator.

The projects that he headed were under the same federal minister in two different ministries. He was also able to circumvent the senior bureaucracy through his easy access to the minister and his other political benefactors.

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80 HEC projects shelved for want of funds
Islamabd: The Senate Standing Committee on Education on Friday urged the government to avoid reductions in development and recurring budget of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) as it would adversely impact projects launched for the promotion of higher education.

The committee, which met at the Parliament House with Senator Mrs Razina Alam Khan in the chair, was given a detailed presentation on the meeting of vice-chancellors of public sector universities with the Higher Education Commission (HEC) recently.

The meeting was also briefed on the code of conduct formulated by the HEC for student unions. Committee members expressed their surprise and dismay over the fact that 80 projects of the HEC had been dropped due to financial constraints.

The committee also expressed its reservations over the restoration of student unions in educational institutes. Senators were of the view a thorough and comprehensive code of conduct was the need of the hour so that students might not indulge in such activities that could hamper their studies.

The meeting also constituted a sub-committee to give its input on the issue of formulation of code of conduct for student unions. The mandate of the sub-committee would be to see whether the code of conduct is properly implemented.

The sub-committee would have representation from all political parties in the upper house so that a consensus could be developed on the issue. Earlier, HEC Chairman Dr Attaur Rehman informed the committee about the decisions taken by the 4th vice-chancellors meeting held recently.

He said the vice-chancellors' meeting had recommended to the government to provide grant for payment of 'pay & allowances' of universities employees as well as to meet increasing cost of utilities.

Dr Atta further said reduction in the recurring budget must be reversed. The meeting was attended by Senators Mrs Rehana Yahya Baloch, Liaquat Ali Bagulzai, Sajid Mir and Prof Muhammad Ibrahim Khan, besides the HEC chairman and senior officials of the HEC. The News

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Colleges given degree status, no facilities yet
Rawalpindi: Despite upgradation of intermediate colleges to degree level last year the Punjab government has not yet upgraded them structurally as many of them lack classrooms and science laboratories to the disappointment of students.

Sources said that the government through a notification in December 2007 had upgraded 35 intermediate colleges in the province, including nine colleges in Rawalpindi district, to degree level to improve the education standards.

The upgraded colleges in Rawalpindi district include Government Intermediate College for Girls Daultala, Government Intermediate College for Boys Daultala, Hashmat Ali Government Intermediate College for Boys Dhoke Kashmirian, Government Khadija Intermediate College for Girls Dhoke Syedan, Government Intermediate College for Girls Khyaban-e-Sir Syed, Government Intermediate College for Girls Taxila, Government Intermediate College for Boys Kalar Syedan, Government Intermediate College for Girls Chakrai and Government Intermediate College for Girls Sihala.

Sources said city's three upgraded colleges had no classrooms to start BA and BSc classes. Boys who have passed the HSSC examination recently said that they were happy with the upgradation of Hashmat Ali College as a large number of students would be able to get admission in BA and BSc classes. "We were disappointed to learn that degree classes will not start this year," they added.

Govt Hashmat Ali College for Boys Principal Sadiq Malik said this year they would start classes of only BA. He said they would be able to start BSc, BCS and BCom classes after the construction of new building. He said the construction of new building would start after transfer of school land measuring 10 kanals.

Hashmat Ali College for Boys and Government Khadija College for Girls, Dhoke Syedan, do not have their own buildings since they were nationalised in 1973, while Government Intermediate College for Girls Khyaban-e-Sir Syed has its own building. Hashmat Ali College classes are being held in hostel of Comprehensive Boys High School, while Khadija College had been shifted to Government Primary School for Boys, Dhoke Syedan in 1985.

Former principal of Hashmat Ali College said that in 1982 the then secretary education during his visit to the college allotted 10 kanals of land of the school to the college, but his orders were verbal and no written contract was provided to them.

He said after introduction of Local Government System schools were given to the city district government, while colleges were provincial subject and the universities were under Higher Education Commission.

He said transfer of school land to college was only an inter-departmental issue. He said they could start construction on the land with the issuance of a no objection certificate (NOC) by the district coordination officer (DCO). He said so far the DCO had not given them NOC to start the construction work. Daily Times

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