SC nullifies HEC ED’s appointment

SC nullifies HEC ED’s appointment

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Monday declared the appointment of former and incumbent executive directors of Higher Education Commission (HEC) as null and void and directed the HEC Chairman to appoint new ED within 30 days.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, heading a three-judge bench of the apex court, heard a petition and suspended Prime Minister’s directives on appointment of Qamar Zaman as ED. HEC counsel informed the bench that the Commission had extended the services of Sohail Naqvi as ED on August 27 but the Establishment Division gave charge of the post to Ministry of Education and Training Secretary Qamar Zaman.The bench noted the Prime Minister has no authority to appoint executive director of HEC. It ordered that a fresh appointment on the basis of merit be made on this post within 30 days and a report be submitted in registrar office.

The bench also directed to the Commission of the HEC, governing body, to appoint one of its members as ED as a stopgap arrangement till the permanent ED is appointed.   Chairman HEC Dr Javaid Laghari informed the court that the HEC employees tried to block the commission members from attending the board meeting of December 14, 2012, displaying rowdy behaviour in the lounge outside the board room and blocked him from attending office unless he recognise the authority of Maj (R) Qamar Zaman as acting ED.‘They were physically violent against me in my office on December 14 in the presence of three board members, damaged public property, and challenged the sanctity of the Chairman’s office.

These employees have also given me life threats, and warned me that if I ever again enter my office, I will face dire consequences’. On which the apex court also directed Inspector General Police Islamabad to provide security to Chairman HEC and his family and disposed off the case.It may be recalled that the governing body of the HEC on August 27 had extended the services of Dr Naqvi for another four-year term.

However, the Establishment Division in a letter to the HEC had maintained that appointment and extension of contract in the management scale was the prerogative of the prime minister and the commission could not extend the contract of its ED.HEC Executive Director Dr Sohail Naqvi was removed from the post and Qamar Zaman was given the additional charge. Initially, the Chairman refused to accept Qamar Zaman as ED but ,later on, on the directions of the Senate Standing Committee on Education and Training held on December 5 he had allowed the acting ED Qamar Zaman to perform his duties and start the process of hiring permanent ED.

Again reverting to its previous stance the 18-member Commission of the HEC had left the decision regarding appointment of ED to the Supreme Court and did not decide anything regarding removal of former ED Sohail Naqvi and the appointment of Qamar Zaman as ED.Meanwhile, HEC employees have welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court in which it has directed HEC authorities to follow proper procedure for selection of HEC’s Executive Director.In a press release, HEC Employees Association said the Supreme Court has given a landmark decision by declaring the four-year extension of Dr. Sohail Naqvi granted by the Commission on August 27, 2012 as illegal.

Dr. Naqvi has also been banned forever to become Executive Director of HEC. The court has ordered that a stopgap Executive Director should be appointed  for a period of one moth by the Commission within two days and a Regular ED should be appointed within one month out of  57  applicants (minus Sohail Naqvi) who have already applied for the post of ED against the advertisement for this position. – Nation