Islamabad - Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) and Higher Education Commission (HEC) are at loggerheads over the inquiry held by latter department following the complaints forwarded by President Secretariat.

“HEC is a regularity body and holding inquiry of an autonomous educational institute was not its mandate,” Dr Ilhan Niaz told The Nation.

He said HEC constituted a fact finding committee to inquire into alleged maladministration and financial irregularities mentioned in the complaints submitted to chancellor of the university.

“Complaints were lodged by anonymous persons while as per rules of cabinet division, no action could be taken against government servant on nameless complaint,” said Dr Niaz.

He said committee was given a mandate to finish its work in 15 days. However, no inquiry was held in given time and mandate of the committee expired on October 28, 2016.

“No fresh notification was received from HEC indicating renewal of the committee’s mandate or extension of its term,” said Dr Niaz.

University spokesperson informed The Nation that Vice Chancellor (VC) QAU on January 10 received an email from the constituted committee stating that it would be coming to university to conduct a fact finding.

Reportedly, there was unpleasant situation felt between university administration and HEC fact finding committee when it reached for inquiry.

However, the committee comprising of Dr M A Kamal (UET Taxila) Muhammad Shahid (Planning Commission) and Dr Muhammad Mazhar Saeed (DG P&D) held inquiry from numerous people including the persons accused in complaints.

The official claimed that from October 13 2016, and January 10, 2017, the VC held meetings with Chancellor (President) and Pro-Chancellor (Federal minister for Education) but didn’t receive any official word regarding complaints lodged against university administration.

“It is possible that the complaints had been forwarded from chancellor’s office without his knowledge,” said official.

Dr Ilhan said that HEC must follow government rule in conducting inquiry against autonomous educational institute.

Meanwhile, an official from HEC informed The Nation that HEC decided to constitute the fact finding committee on receiving the complaints marked by President Secretariat.

Official stated that the complaints were lodged against QAU administration on alleged irregular promotions of faculty, maladministration and financial irregularities in the institution.  Spokesperson HEC Ayesha Ikram told The Nation that mandate of HEC on holding inquiry is very clear while the specific inquiry was held to probe the matter forwarded by President Secretariat.

She said previously the inquiry held in the case of Hazara University by HEC was appreciated because it met the standards of transparency.

“HEC doesn’t compromise on quality that is why it was involved in the inquiry while in the fact finding committee there was only one member of HEC,” she said.

HEC official also stated that inquiry has not concluded yet.

However, a faculty member of QAU who wished anonymity talking to The Nation said that QAU is the top ranked university in the country and HEC has never played such a role before.

“HEC involvement in unnecessary issues spread insecurity and put the higher education on backtrack,” he said.

An Ex-VC QAU talking to The Nation said that after 18th amendment, role of HEC has become limited and it is only a funding agency now.

“Driving force of university is always its act and it must be respected by all departments,” he said.