ISLAMABAD - Two separate protest demonstrations were held on Tuesday on the issue of former Higher Education Commission (HEC) executive director Sohail Naqvi’s removal — one in support of Naqvi’s removal inside the Commission while the other was organised outside the commission against his termination.

The HEC employees held a peaceful protest in the premises of the Commission urging Chairman HEC Dr Javaid Laghari to uphold the rule of law and avoid ruining the institution just to hide the illegal extension of Dr Sohail Naqvi, without following the proper procedure.

The employees reiterated that the issue of HEC autonomy, which has already been settled by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, was being misused to give extension to Dr Sohail Naqvi. “HEC Ordinance is very clear that any person cannot become Member of the Commission for more than two terms of four-year each. Also, it is very clear that the Commission is not authorised to grant third extension to any member,” speakers said.

The Officers Welfare Association (OWA) and Employees Welfare Association (EWA) of the HEC that have given the call of the protest, again, vowed to extend full cooperation to the new Executive Director Qamar Zaman Chaudhry, who has been given additional charge by the Government of Pakistan.

“A confusion is being spread regarding authority for appointment in MP scale. HEC Ordinance 2002 does not authorise the Commission to recruit any officer in the MP scale because recruitment/extension in MP scale is the sole prerogative of the Prime Minister of the country for which rules have been defined by the Establishment Division and communicated to HEC vide their letter no. 6/3/2004/R-3 dated September 12, 2006.”

The Establishment Division has recently given additional charge of executive director HEC to Qamar Zaman Ch. It may be mentioned here that the same authority (Establishment Division) transferred Dr Sohail Naqvi from the Ministry of Information Technology to HEC in February 2003. As per HEC Ordinance, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, being the controlling authority of HEC, has a supervisory role and has every right to intervene and stop any illegal action taken by the HEC management, they said.

However, the new ED did not come to office on Tuesday but the office order issued by him on Monday was implemented as Director General Administration Mazhar Saeed appointed by him performed his official duties. And former DG Administration Awais Ahmed who was transferred by the new ED to the post of DG Human Resource Development did not turn up to work.

In another demonstration that was held outside the Commission by the students in favour of Sohail Naqvi, they demanded his restoration.