ISLAMABAD- For the first time Higher Education Commission (HEC) has cared to recognise invaluable services of Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rahman former Chairman HEC, in higher education sector. In its last meeting, the HEC Board of Governors unanimously acknowledged and appreciated the efforts, services and contributions of Dr Atta for leading renaissance of higher education sector in keeping with the recommendations of the Task Force on Higher Education and Steering Committee on Higher Education Reforms of 2001. There are 18 members in the commission including 4 provincial government representatives, eminent citizens, vice chancellors and eminent educationists. It was the second meeting of the commission after the resignation of Dr Atta. Dr Muhammad Akram Sheikh, former Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission offered his sincere appreciation for Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rahman and observed that his vision, leadership and hard work has diametrically invigorated the higher education sector in Pakistan. Mazahar-ul-Haq Siddiqui, Vice Chancellor, University of Sindh, Jamshoro seconded Dr Akrams views. The BoG members observed that this was accomplished through successful implementation of inter-linked initiatives, strategies and innovative programmes in academics, research assurance, IT and physical infrastructure, faculty esteem and status, etc. The commission desired that the appreciation may be formally conveyed to the former Chairman HEC Prof Atta and he may also be invited to a felicitation gathering to appropriately recognize his valuable contribution. Shahnaz Wazir Ali, In-charge, HEC observed though she had been acknowledging the role and headship of Dr Atta on different occasions, it is all important that the commission formally recorded its acknowledgement and tributes for the former chairman whose leadership was appreciated by those within the country and abroad. It enabled the commission to accomplish unparalleled growth in access and equity, quality of academics and research, improvement of infrastructure, standardization and quality assurances processes, governance and management of higher education sector in a very short span of time she added. Dr Atta had another two years of his 4-year contract left when he resigned. He tendered his resignation in protest against sharp cuts in the budget of the higher education sector which had caused suffering to the 4,000 students who had been sent abroad on foreign scholarships, and the derailing of a large number of critically important projects in the higher education sector, including the foreign engineering universities which were scheduled to start classes in October 2008, but the programme was abandoned mid-way by the government, causing huge international embarrassment. It may be mentioned here that Dr Atta has been conferred the highest Civil Award of the Government of Austria for bringing about revolutionary changes in the higher education sector in Pakistan, unparalleled in any other developing country, and that the Senate Standing Committee on Higher Education, Science & Technology had passed a unanimous resolution after his resignation acknowledging his monumental contributions to this sector, and appealing to the government that he should be requested to return as Chairman HEC.