ISLAMABAD-The Islamabad High Court Friday issued notices to respondents in a petition challenging removal of Chief Executive Officer of Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan Sheikh Akhtar Hussain.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Miangul Hassan conducted hearing of the petition of Sheikh Akhtar challenging a notification of his removal as CEO of DRAP and deferred hearing in this connection after directing the respondents to submit their reply in this matter.

Previously, the same IHC bench had suspended the said notification and permitted the petitioner to resume his duty. The petitioner approached the IHC assailing his removal by the health ministry for allegedly having fake degree and cited Ministry of Finance, Ministry of National Health Services, DRAP, the Establishment Division and others as respondents in this matter.

Earlier, Higher Education Commission (HEC) had informed the Ministry of National Health Services that it could not recognize DRAP head’s PhD degree as it was obtained from a non-chartered university.

Sheikh earned his PhD degree from The Open International University, Colombo, Sri Lanka which was not enlisted as the HEC-chartered universities. The ministry had requested the HEC to verify the degree of CEP DRAP Sheikh Akhtar Hussain.

In a letter to the ministry, the HEC had said as per information contained in international directories like Handbook of Universities and International Handbook of Universities published by the UNESCO as well as information placed on official website of UNESCO, the university is not listed amongst the chartered universities/institutions of Sri Lanka.

In late January, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) had been asked by a private citizen, Nazakat Mehmood, to verify the authenticity of Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) Chairman Sheikh Akhtar Hussain’s academic credentials. In response to that request, the HEC stated that Hussain claimed to hold a doctorate in philosophy (PhD) in pharmacy from the Open International University of Colombo, Sri Lanka dating back to 2000.

However, the HEC said that the varsity is not included in the HEC’s list of international chartered varsities. In fact, the HEC on its website has declared the university ‘illegal and fake’. Moreover, the HEC said that the varsity was not included in the list of chartered universities or degree awarding institutions of UNESCO.

Hence, the ministry decided to remove Hussain from the post. “It has therefore been decided that Sheikh Akhtar Hussain, shall cease to work as the chief executive officer of DRAP with immediate effect and until further orders,” read the notice signed by Administration-II Section Officer Saeed Awan.

It further said that “the officer concerned is directed to report in the ministry of NHSR&C, immediately”.