ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday expressed its concern over the non-appointment of chairperson Higher Education Commission (HEC).

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui also directed secretary ministry of education, training and standards in higher education to convey court’s concern to the prime minister.

During the hearing of the petition, the secretary education appeared before the court and said that the ministry had forwarded names of nominees to the prime minister for appointment of new chairman HEC but the PM refused to endorse the same and formulated a new search committee headed by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif that was looking for new chief of the commission.

Justice Siddiqui directed the secretary to convey in writing to the PM Secretariat that ministry officials had already given an undertaking to the court that the new HEC chairman would be appointed as soon as possible. The court directed the secretary to produce the same note before the court by April 30.

The bench observed that newly formed search committee should immediately appoint the new chairman; otherwise, there would be arguments before the court that the new search committee had been looking for some blue-eyed person.

The important post of chairman HEC has been lying vacant since August 26, 2013 after the former chairman Dr Javed Leghari completed his tenure. After the expiry of former chairman’s tenure, the government had appointed an acting chairman HEC Imtiaz Hussain Gillani, vice chancellor (VC) of Peshawar University of Engineering & Technology, whose acting charge lapsed on February 12 and later the prime minister ordered for his extension till permanent appointment.

Earlier, the bench had directed the federal government to appoint a new permanent chairman of the HEC by February 12 after the government had assured the court that process for appointment had already initiated. In this regard, a petitioner Khawaja Aurangzeb had moved the court through his counsel Barrister Afzal Hussain. Hussain told the court that the post had been lying vacant for the last eight months. He contended that the government seemed least bothered about the education sector and was showing its non-serious attitude in addressing this problem as yet.