ISLAMABAD  - The Islamabad High Court Thursday sought reply from the federal government and other respondents on a petition related to the appointment of Dr Mukhtar Ahmad as chairman Higher Education Commission, his earlier appointment as Executive Director HEC, his modified salary package, his dual degree and alleged irregularities.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui also directed the respondents to submit their reply within 15 days time in this regard. Different petitioners have moved the court regarding the above-mentioned issues.

In one such petition filed on June 25, a petitioner Arsal Ikram cited PM’s secretariat, Secretary Establishment Division, Ministry of Education Training and Standards in HEC, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Federal Minister for Water & Power and Defence, and Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, chairman HEC as respondents.  In the petition, he contended before the court that appointment of Dr Mukhtar has been made in violation of the law, rules and eligibility criteria.

According to the petitioner, on April 16, 2014, the Establishment Division had issued a notification appointing Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad as chairman of the HEC, without due competitive process of conducting interviews of eligible candidates. The petitioner claimed that Dr. Mukhtar is not worthy of holding the office as during one academic year he obtained two degrees in two different disciplines that is not permissible under law.

The petitioner prayed before the court to accept the petition and Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad may be called as under what authority of law he is holding the public office.

The other petition was filed by an educationist Prof Dr Aftab Kazi who challenged the alleged irregular appointment, modified salary package of Dr Ahmed as executive director HEC as well. Umair Baloch advocate represented the petitioner.  He cited principal secretary to the prime minister, federal secretary ministry of education, training and standards in higher education, federal secretary ministry of finance, chairperson HEC and Dr Mukhtar Ahmed as respondents.

He said that the appointment and pay package of Dr Ahmed was an example of favouritism and nepotism.

On this the IHC directed the IHC office to club and fix all the cases before the court in the first week of August.