Dr. Tariq Javed Banuri, the newly reinstated Chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), has had all of his powers revoked by the government.
Dr. Banuri was restored by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on January 18, ten months after the government had fired him under a presidential edict and changes to the HEC’s norms and regulations. In defiance of the court’s decision, Naheed Durrani, the government Secretary of Education and Professional Training, presented a resolution on Monday delegating Dr. Banuri’s Chairmanship to the HEC’s Executive Director (ED).
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Engr. Farooq Bazai, Prof. Dr. Javed Iqbal, Prof. Dr. Atta-ur-Rehman, Dr. Arif Nazir Butt, Secretary Abdul Saboor Kakar, Prof. Dr. Bhawani Shankar Chowdhary, Dr. Akram Shaikh, Dr. Nadra Panjwani, Dr. Shaista Sohail, and Dr. Naved Malik were among the members of the HEC Board of Governor
The resolution permitted the current Executive Director to remain in office until the new Chairman of the HEC was elected by a two-thirds majority vote. They’d also called the new ED’s interview process ‘null and void.’
Meanwhile, Shafqat Mahmood, the Minister of Education, has defended the move, claiming that Dr. Banuri had abused his powers, causing resentment among the board members.
“It’s not wrong to use authority; it’s wrong to misuse it,” he said, adding that “almost all members raised their worries about this, and the ministry took the appropriate action.”
Dr. Banuri, on the other hand, said that the board members acted in this way because they were afraid of being held accountable.
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“Some people are so afraid of accountability that they will go to any length to safeguard their empires, including destroying the entire system.” “After consultations, we (the HEC) will respond,” he stated.
Dr. Banuri went on to say that the so-called HEC resolution appeared to be a case of ‘contempt of court,’ and that it should have been stopped. “Such actions will divert the HEC’s attention away from its true mission of quality in higher education, student welfare, and accountability and transparency,” he stated.