Retain Dr Atta-ur-Rehman as HEC chief
Retain Atta as HEC chief: Senate body
|Islamabad, Nov 21: A Senate body unanimously has called for retention of
Chairperson Higher Education Commission (HEC) Dr Atta-ur-Rehman on his job, who
has resigned but his resignation has not been accepted yet.
resignation came under scrutiny at a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on
Education held here on Thursday.
The meeting was chaired by Senator Ms
Razina Alam Khan. The members of the committee believed he had been instrumental
to bring the higher education sector of the country to a competitive
The committee also asked the government to immediately release
funds earmarked for the HEC. The commission is facing serious financial crisis
because the government had imposed deep-cuts on its budgetary
Commenting on the reports that the education ministry had
suggested taking the HEC under its administrative and financial control, the
committee members were of the view that the HEC should remain as an autonomous
The meeting paused for a while when Ms Khan posed a
surprise question to Executive Director HEC Dr Suhail Naqvi that whether Dr Atta
was forced to leave his office or he voluntarily resigned. Dr Naqvi and his team
only responded through their meaningful smiles.
However, a couple of
senators murmured that the government had forced him to resign in an
According to knowledgeable sources, Dr Atta was
asked by the government to leave the position and he resigned on October 9 and
left the office after bidding farewell to his colleagues the following
Since then, the seat is laying vacant and the government is yet to
make the new appointment. Under the law, the prime minister is the appointing
authority of the HEC chief.
When inquired by the committee members, Dr
Naqvi clarified that Dr Atta was still holding the office of the chairperson of
the HEC as, he said, the government was yet to notify his
Applauding the services of Dr Atta, Senator Dr Muhammad Said
said the government should have allowed him to continue and complete his
remaining two years of service. Criticising the successive federal education
ministers and their performances, he observed that Dr Atta was a rare hope who
had done "a lot for the education sector".
Even if the government is
interested in bringing some one of its own choice as new HEC chairperson, it
should strictly follow the criterion laid down in the HEC's ordinance for the
next appointment, he said.
According to the ordinance under which the HEC
was set up back in 2002 by the then president Pervez Musharraf, the controlling
authority (prime minister or chief executive of the country) can appoint any
person of "international eminence and proven ability who has made significant
contribution to the higher education as teacher, researcher or administrator on
such terms and conditions as it may determine".
The chairperson shall
have the status of a federal minister, says the ordinance.
Senator Prof Muhammad Ibarahim Khan questioned the appointment criterion as, he
said, it gave tremendous powers to the prime minister in choosing someone for
He called for a "search committee" which should be entrusted
with the job to select new HEC chairperson and warned against political
appointments made by the government on such critical positions.
presentation, Dr Naqvi informed the committee members that at present the
government was spending less than two per cent of GDP - 1.9 per cent - on
education sector, whereas, he said, according to international standards four
per cent of the GDP was the minimum which a government should spend on
Dispelling the impression that government is spending money on
higher education at the expense of school and college education, he said during
the last year out of Rs253 billion spent on education throughout the country,
only Rs33 billion was given to the higher education sector. Dawn
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FC College professor murdered at home
Lahore, Nov 21: A Mass Communication professor of the Forman Christian College, who was
also the Extra Curriculum Activities Society chairman, was shot dead by two
persons in the drawing room of his house in the Gulberg Police precincts late on
The victim has been identified as Khurshid Alam Gill, a
resident of house #10, E-Block, of the housing society located inside FC
College. The deceased was also the superintendent of one hostel at the same
The deceased's son, Shakir Gill, said that two men had escaped
after critically injuring his father by shooting at him. Several security guards
and other residents reached the scene and rushed the professor to the Services
Hospital, where he succumbed to an injury caused by a sole bullet.
Police officials also reached the scene and removed the deceased's body
to the city morgue for an autopsy.
Tea: According to the police
investigators, the deceased professor was waiting for someone at his home for
tea. They said that two motorcyclists arrived at his house, adding that he
invited them inside to his drawing room. According to the police investigators,
the two motorcyclists fired a single bullet at the deceased's nose. The
investigator said that according to initial information, the deceased had
informed his wife and son about the guests and arranged several items for them
before they had arrived. The murderers managed to escape from the scene right
after they shot the professor.
Police investigators have recovered all
available records at the entry and exit points of the college to aid the ongoing
Recognise: According to the investigators, the deceased's
wife said that she had entered the drawing room to serve the accused tea. She
said that at the time the professor and his guests had been discussing property
issues. Police investigators have assumed that the property issue was what
resulted in the professor's death. Investigators said that she told the police
that she could identify the killers if she saw them.
A fourth year
student, Ubaid, said that the deceased had a good reputation among the students,
adding that he had never unduly told off any student or had any clashes with
faculty members. He said that the deceased used to stop for his students and
wait for them if he saw anyone from a distance.
Gulberg Circle Assistant
Superintendent of Police Syed Nasir Ali Rizvi said that the police were
investigating the matter and would find details of the killers soon. Daily Times
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