Additional marks to CJ's daughter legal

Farah Hameed Dogar was not the only student who was granted favours in her FSc examinations
Islamabad, Jan 10: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) was told on Friday that the daughter of Supreme Court Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar was not the only student who was granted favours in her FSc examinations. The marks of some 200 other students were also increased in the same examination, the court was informed.

In reply to a petition moved by Tehreek Falah-i-Pakistan, a former chairman of the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE) sought a declaration from the high court that no illegality was done and the entire exercise of re-checking/re-examination and re-assessment of marks of Farah Hameed Dogar was within relevant rules that vest such authority in the board.

"The chairman of the board and other competent authorities are empowered to look into the hardship case of a student and pass orders to overcome such situations," the reply by Commodore (retd) Shamshad said.

The petition was filed by Mohammad Azam Khan Sultanpuri, president of the Tehrik Falah-i-Pakistan.

The high court has already sealed relevant records of the board regarding the grant of additional marks to the daughter of the chief justice, but rejected a request to include the National Assembly's standing committee on education as a party by staying its proceedings.

Earlier, Ms Farah Dogar also issued a statement, saying that her educational career had "no grey areas" and her "blotless performance in school and college" could be verified.

On Friday, the reply was filed by Advocate Raja Abdul Rehman, the legal counsel of Mr Shamshad before the high court. It will resume the hearing on Tuesday.

According to the reply, Farah Dogar was among 1,093 students who applied for rechecking. Miss Dogar had asked the board to re-check six of her examination papers last year on two different dates in which she expressed concern about her marks.

The respective head examiners had re-examined Ms Dogar's answer books and awarded nine more marks in English, five in Urdu, six in physics and one in biology. The head examiners of chemistry and Pakistan studies stated that no re-assessment was needed, the board's reply said.

As a result, Miss Farah got 21 more marks, raising her total marks to 661, out of 1,100. The percentage came to 60.09 per cent (Grade B), according to the board.

In the rechecking process, the marks of 200 other students were also increased. As a result the grade of 20 students moved upward three from grade D to grade C, 14 from grade C to grade B, one from grade B to A and two from grade A to A-plus.

Commodore (retd) Shamshad, the federal board's former chairman, said, no student was discriminated against and marks were increased by head examiners in accordance with the law.

"The rechecking/reassessment is part of a process, which was carried out in a transparent manner," the reply said, adding the entire staff of the HSSC examination secrecy section, controller examination, head examiners and the chairman were part of the process.

"No underhand work has been done and all noting/drafting is available on file."

It said the federal board was an autonomous body and its chairman was also the chairman of the governing body of the board. The body includes parliamentarians, three members of the National Assembly and two Senators.

Citing the Supreme Court ruling in the University of Punjab versus Sumaira Javed case, the reply said: "No objection can be raised regarding the non-existence of rules for re-assessment, re-examination or re-evaluation." Dawn

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Finance Ministry yet to release HEC funds
Islamabad: Despite the instructions of the Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani, the Finance Ministry has been unable to grant timely and full release of allocated funds to the Higher Education Commission (HEC), thus disobeying the orders of the chief executive of the country.

The premier had issued these directives along with other orders to the Finance Ministry at a presentation by the HEC. A presentation was given by the Higher Education Commission to the Prime Minister on May 12, 2008 at the PM's House wherein he had directed for the restoration of a cut of Rs. 5 billion made in the recurring grant of the financial year of 2007-08 for universities and sustain the recurring budget requirement of Rs. 23 billion for the financial year 2008-09.

The Finance Ministry was also asked that it should make releases of development and recurring budget of fourth quarter on priority basis. The prime minister had directed that Foreign Ministry and its Missions abroad should make concerted efforts to secure additional funding for higher education.

But despite the directives of the head of the state, the Finance Ministry remained unmoved and the budget cut of 5 billion rupees that was being imposed on the Commission in the last financial year could not be released.

Though the government released the recurring budget of first and second quarter of this financial year but in case of development budget, the Commission received only 15 per cent in the first quarter and 7.5 per cent in the second quarter.

It is worth mentioning here that the government released the development as well as recurring grant of the second quarter in the last month of the quarter with the delay of two months.

The unexpected cut in the Commission's budget badly affected the universities which had no savings and even the salaries for the months of April and May 2008 had been paid after withdrawing money from Pension Funds, Students Fund, Reserve Fund and taking loans from banks.

The universities have been protesting against the situation as they have gone bankrupt.

The delay in the release of funds also caused difficulties for the students studying abroad under the foreign scholarship programmes of the HEC.

"Finance Ministry has been simply denying releasing the funds allocated to HEC. We are treated as if we are the enemies of the country. It seems that a conspiracy has been hatched up against the higher education sector of the country," said a senior official of the Commission requesting anonymity. The Nation

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