ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister (PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has been urged to ensure a transparent and merit-based appointment of Higher Education Commission (HEC) chairperson.
In a letter addressed to the PM, HEC controlling authority and members of the search committee for appointment of HEC chairperson demanded that appointment of the chairman should be transparent and must be made on merit.
A letter written by National Democratic Foundation (NDF) Chairman Kanwar Muhammad Dilshad stated that the higher education institutions are the places where the future leaders are nurtured primarily. If unlawful practices or even an impression of such practices is rampant in these places, then it leaves a deep impression in the minds of youngsters that perhaps success is impossible to be achieved without adopting those so-called norms of the society, it stated.
The letter further read that the NDF is of the view that if right appointments are made at the top positions, then a great difference can be created. “Therefore, the NDF proposes that while the recent search committee for appointment of the chairperson should look into the technical competencies of the candidates, the judiciary, NAB, FIA and anti-corruption department should be asked to perform a detailed background check on the potential candidates to identify if there are any wrongdoings they are involved in,” it added.
Introduction of this small step in the search process of future leaders in the HEC would certainly do a great deal of service in the cleansing of the society in a sustainable manner.
Kanwar Dilshad suggested that this suggestion should be adopted in the case of appointment of HEC chairman, and may be used broadly if found useful. The search committee constituted for the appointment of the chairman may perform initial scrutiny of the received applications and before calling the shortlisted candidates for interviews, it may forward their bios to the relevant institutions to seek a detailed background check, he added.
“Only those candidates from the shortlisted ones should be called for further processing who are found to be morally and financially clean,” the letter said, and suggested that the shortlisting process should be undertaken under the direct supervision of all the members of the search committee to ensure transparency, openness and merit as per prescribed criteria laid down in HEC Ordinance 2002.
The letter mentions that some of the personalities with fake credentials and controversial backgrounds have already damaged the higher education sector in Pakistan through misuse of authority and victimisation. It is high time that such persons should be avoided to lead this prestigious national institution which has over Rs90 billion in the annual budget.
The letter further said that as per clause 19 of HEC Ordinance, 2002, the chairperson, members and officers shall be deemed to be public servants within the meaning of section 21 of the Pakistan Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860).