ISLAMABAD – The Senate Standing Committee on Education and Training has directed the Ministries of Human Resource Development and Overseas Pakistanis to vacate the occupied hostel and auditorium of the Ministry of Education and Training within three months.

The Committee took up the issue of occupation of hostel and auditorium of Pakistan Manpower Institute (MPI), an attached department of the Ministry of Education and Training, at a meeting of the Committee that met here on Thursday.

The officials of the Ministry of Education and Training had informed the committee that due to the occupation of hostel and auditorium by the two said ministries, officials from provinces avoid to attend the trainings owing to lack of accommodation facilities conducted by the PMI.

The Secretaries of the said ministries, who were summoned by the Committee, informed that the both the ministries were the divisions of the defunct Ministry of Labour, Manpower and Overseas Pakistanis and being part of that defunct ministry the offices were setup with the directions of the then minister. In 2008 both the divisions were made separate ministries.

The members of the Committee showing their displeasure over the occupation of the building of PMI after getting the status of separate ministries unanimously directed both the ministries to vacate the building within three months. The Senators also showed their annoyance after knowing that the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis on the one side has occupied the building of PMI and on the other hand has rented its building to other organisations and getting Rs 10 lakh rent monthly.

The committee members also expressed their disquiet over the non-implementation of Prime Minister and Establishment Division directives regarding the illegal appointments and extensions of the HEC officials in Management Position Scales (MP-Scales).

The members maintained that the HEC should have implemented the Establishment and PM orders and all the violations of the law should have been declared null and void.  But still the officials have been working on the same positions despite that the Establishment Division has declared all the appointments made in MP-Scales since 2004 as illegal and PM being the controlling authority has also directed to freeze the recently given extensions to HEC Executive Director Dr Sohail Naqvi and Advisor (HRD) Dr Riaz Hussain Qureshi.

The HEC Chairman Dr. Javaid Laghari informed the Committee that the decision has been left to the PM to decide about the issue and in this regard a meeting has been scheduled with the PM on November 29. He also opined that the Commission of the HEC has powers to appoint officials and give extensions in MP-Scales and it’s a misinterpretation that it’s not the HEC Commission’s prerogative.  

On which Chairman Committee Abdul Nabi Bangash remarked that the HEC being autonomous body has certain powers but it does not mean that it has the powers of Establishment Division and the Prime Minister and it is not supposed to violate the procedure of re-employments.

The Committee member unanimously decided not to recommend anything until the PM decides anything on the issue and decided to convene meeting of the committee on December 5 to get update on the issue and take decision.

The committee also directed that whatever the decision is made and whatever correspondence happens between the PM Secretariat and the HEC copies of that that correspondence should be provided to the Ministry and the committee. 

The representatives of the Academic Staff Associations (ASAs) of the universities while briefing the committee members on financial crisis and allocations of funds to the public sector universities said since June 2012 the funds have not been released to pay 20 percent increase to the university employees as announced by the government.

They informed that 30,000 university teachers have been affected due to the non-release of funds for salary raise and grants for faculty development and research are also not allocated.

HEC Executive Director Sohail Naqvi informed the committee that the Commission had demanded Rs. 36 billion but instead Rs.32 billion have been allocated and there is a deficit of Rs. 4 billion and universities have accumulated deficits and that would be difficult to overcome.

Sheikh Waqas Akram assured the committee that in the due meeting with the PM on November 29 the financial issue will also be discussed.