Tariq Banuri accuses opponents of creating hurdles in controlling HEC

KARACHI: Some influential quarters of the academia, in the absence of the HEC chairman, tried to take over the commission, and are now striving hard to create difficulties for him in implementing the policies.
The Chairman of Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan Tariq Javed Banuri, while talking he, said during last week, they have published fake news against him. “I have recently retaken the charge of the commission. It was not possible to change rules and operate the affairs of the commission with the dictation or verbal orders”.
About making changes in the selection committee formed by the commission during the period when Banuri was sacked by the government, he said that the Selection Committee of the Commission has been working on the same pattern for the last several years. “I have not changed any criteria or formation of the committee, but refused to induct a former vice-chancellor as a member of the committee.”

The committee comprises two Sectaries —- Secretary of the Federal Education Department and Secretary of Science and Technology, an Executive Director of the Commission, Head of the Human Resources Department of the HEC while chairman of the HEC nominates two outside members.

“I merely changed the two outside members of the Committee because they were from the same university,” said Banuri, adding; “many people had raised objections over their membership. And it was my prerogative to replace the two members as per the HEC Ordinance.”

The sacked members were the Project Director of the Pak-Austria Fachhochschule Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology Nasser Ali Khan and Rector of the same university Mohammad Mujahid.

It is pertinent to mention here that the HEC Plagiarism Standing Committee after finding major plagiarism in Nasser Ali Khan’s PhD Thesis recommended the cancelation of his degree. Later, Khan was sacked from the position of vice-chancellor at Haripur University.

Those who replaced Khan and Mujahid are VC of Faisalabad Agriculture University Iqrar Ahmad Khan who is an internationally recognized Agricultural Scientist, and former rector of the National University of Sciences & Technology Lt General (retired) Muhammad Asghar who is also a member of the Commission.

“Whenever HEC announces any position, the same Selection Committee initiates the process for appointment. However, the two outside members are being changed with approval of the chairman,” Banuri clarified, adding “I have done nothing wrong, but my opponents have created a hegemony in the HEC to control the affairs of the Commission. By publishing fake news, they are pressuring me to influence later decisions. They don’t want my work independently”

However, the chairman said that he is committed to working as per rules to ensure merit. “I will never appoint incompetent people in the Commission. During the past six months, a lot of things have changed by irrelevant members. I have to fix that .”

While talking about fake research, he said that the HEC is currently under-staffed. He is concerned about fake research papers. “The issue is Universities and the Commission promote faculty on the basis of publications. Teachers are engaged in the race of publishing a maximum number of papers regardless of making sure whether they are giving quality research.”

Influential academics produce thousands of papers. But these papers are nothing but trash. They are not producing knowledge and making no contribution to the development of society and country. “There is a need to change the entire system, especially the procedure of appointment and promotion of faculty”.

He said that he’s intended to form a high-level committee soon to investigate cases of fake researchers who have received millions for research. But they wasted the public money over crap research.