ISLAMABAD - With a few days left to meet the deadline given by the Supreme Court for appointment of Higher Education Commission (HEC) executive director, the HEC officials are in utter confusion over the appointment procedures.

Currently three different selection boards are under consideration laid down in the rules but the officials are unable to decide which one should be adopted for the appointment of ED.

To resolve confusion over recruitment, the acting executive director (ED), Imtiaz Hussain Gilani has sought the opinion of Establishment Division through Ministry of Education and Training asking which way of appointment be adopted for the selection of executive director.

In a letter to the Ministry of Education and Training, the ED has mentioned three selection boards constituted during different periods for the appointments by the Commission and the government. Firstly, a selection board exists under the general HEC Recruitment Rules 2009 for the appointment of ED appointment that has laid down rules for the appointment of other employees of different grades and positions also.

The Commission in its 26th meeting held on May 3, 2012 has also constituted a selection board, especially for the selection of ED and its members including HEC Chairman, acting ED, chairman of vice chancellors’ committee of public universities, chairman of vice chancellors’ committee of private universities, Commission member Razina Alam Khan, and private member of Beaconhouse National University Sartaj Aziz.

And the third procedure has been laid down by the Government of Pakistan for employment in Management Position Scales (MP-Scales), however, there is no bar for HEC to adopt its own procedure in view of the autonomous status granted to it by the Ordinance, according to the letter.

According to officials, the confusion is a result of non-approval of recruitment rules of the HEC that neither has been vetted by the Establishment Division nor the HEC officials bothered to get them approved from the Controlling Authority, the Prime Minister.  

Besides, a new letter written by the Finance Division to all the ministries and divisions that has slashed the tenure of MP-Scales appointments from four to two years has created more confusions as in the advertisement of ED position the HEC had mentioned the duration of the post four years.

HEC Chairman Dr Javaid Laghari maintained that the Commission had sought an opinion from Establishment through Ministry of Education and Training in good faith to avoid any future controversies otherwise ‘the Commission is the appointing authority and now the Supreme Court has also reinforced this fact in its decision’.   

The Supreme Court in a recent ruling of December 17 had directed the HEC to appoint within a month a permanent ED and report in registrar office. The Commission has to select an ED from 56 candidates who had applied in response to the advertisement given by HEC in July 2012.

Former ED Sohail Naqvi had also applied for the post and was one of the potential candidates for the post but after the Supreme Court decision and due to controversies over his extensions he withdrew his application. In an email to vice chancellors and rectors he stated that ‘while I was an applicant for the advertised position, I no longer believe it would be in the best interest of the Commission for me to continue my association with it in an official capacity. Instead, I believe it is time for me to move on so that HEC may heal again and so that a new leadership may take it to yet greater heights’.