- PM suggested three names for post of acting HEC chairman
ISLAMABAD: As the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) put a ban on fresh recruitments ahead of elections, the Ministry of Education on Wednesday suggested three names for the charge of acting Higher Education Commission (HEC) chairman as the incumbent chairman is set to retire on April 14.
Sources privy to the development told Pakistan Today that the ministry has sent a summary of three names to the prime minister, which includes the names of two federal secretaries and HEC executive director (ED) for the three-month charge.
They said that the names of Ministry of Science and Technology Secretary Yasmin Masood, Ministry of Professional and Technical Training Secretary Akbar Hussain Durrani and HEC ED Dr Arshad Ali have been recommended for the slot acting HEC chairman as the post cannot be left vacant. Hence the appointment has been made for three months, till regular chairperson is appointed.
Among the three candidates, the HEC ED is the favourite for the slot since his position is also equivalent to the secretary, they said, adding that part of the commission, Dr Arshad Ali will be the best choice to run affairs effectively.
Meanwhile, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) imposed a ban on new recruitments on Wednesday, creating fear that the selection of the HEC chairman and vice-chancellors of various universities could also be delayed.
Moreover, sources said that some people have already raised serious objections over the selection process of HEC chairman as some of the aspirants for the slots are facing cases in NAB.
They also said that the ECP’s decision can also affect the selection of International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI) president, whose fate is to be decided on April 12. The post was not advertised and the selection criterion was also widely criticised.
Talking to Pakistan Today, former ECP secretary Kanwar Dilshad said that according to the ECP Act 2017, the ban on recruitments is imposed after the announcement of the elections schedule and formation of a caretaker government. He added that the ECP has taken a very wrong decision to impose a ban on appointments when there are almost two months left of the incumbent government’s tenure.
“The decision will paralyse the whole system for five long months,” he added.
To a question about its impact on the appointment of HEC chairman and VCs, he said that principally, it has no impact on the constitutional bodies but it was still an unjustifiable decision.
ECP Public Relations Director Altaf Ahmad told Pakistan Today that the ECP ban would have no effect on the posts which have already been advertised. On the issue of HEC chairman and VCs, he said that though the ban was just for fresh recruitments, in special cases, departmental permission is needed.
“The decision has been taken in public interest as giving benefit to someone ahead of elections is a clear violation of elections code of conduct,” he added.
The ECP official went on to say that it was less likely to influence the selection process of VCs since their appointment was an internal matter, for which the universities have their own set of rules.
The ECP in its notification put a complete ban on fresh recruitments, except through Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) and Provincial Public Service Commissions (PPSCs).
A senior lawyer wishing anonymity told Pakistan Today that ECP just gave exemption to the appointments being made through competitive processes. He added that since the selection of HEC chairman and VCs of the universities was to be made by the prime minister, it would also come under the ban imposed by the election commission.