ISLAMABAD-The Higher Education Commission has created a controversy when it on Friday made public the complete list of PhD candidates, including the names of selected top sixteen candidates, for Chinese government scholarships.

However, the applicants are now demanding the HEC to make the entire selection procedure public for ensuring transparency.

The HEC in its first attempt of announcing Chinese government offered PhD scholarships had uploaded the names of all 1,500 applicants instead of selected 16 names.

The HEC though claimed it a ‘technical glitch, however, controversy was stirred as all the applicants poured in claiming that they were the successful candidates.

According to the merit list available with The Nation, the selection of sixteen PhD aspirants was made on quota basis.

In the quota, eight seats were allocated for Punjab, 02 for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 02 for Sindh Rural while one each for Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK), Balochistan, FATA/GB and Sindh Urban. An aspirant PhD applicant Bakhtawar Quyyum, whose name was not included in second merit list, argued that still the process needs to be made transparent as applicants ‘doubts’ are not removed.

“How can we believe with only uploaded names that we were below the merit, as there could be alteration in result also,” she said.

She said that the applicants not selected in scholarships are now being told by the HEC authorities that they didn’t qualify because they had less marks in matriculation.

“However, for PhD research proposal matters more,” she viewed.

Another student Waheed Ahmed said that HEC has still not announced the merit list for bachelors and masters Chinese government scholarships.

He said that the controversy in announcing PhD scholarships has raised concerns on the selection procedure of students in these scholarships which HEC must address.

“HEC authorities neither attend calls nor reply emails of the applicants while creating confusions because of poor administration,” he said.

Another PhD aspirant Fida Hussain said that Chinese government had announced 7,000 scholarships but scholars are being shortlisted on 16 seats.

“There is no clarity either neither in selection procedure nor about number of seats announced,” he said.

He also added that Rs300 is charged from each applicant to apply for scholarship by HEC but results announced are vague and applicants suffered.

He said that the HEC is more involved in minting money from scholars than facilitating them in availing scholarships.

“How to believe that selection was made transparently when PhD students are judged on their matriculation marks,” he said.

According to the list, the selected candidates included Sophia Owais (AJK), Adil Israr (Baluchistan), Inam Ullah (FATA), Mudassir Iqbal, Waqas Liaqat (KP), Ammar Ahmed, Muhammad Rizwan Ali, Behzad Hussain, Maryam Badar, Shhzad Farooq, Hameedullah Khan Shinwar, Zara Naz, Khizar Hayat (Punjab), Seher Saleem, Ahad Abdul Rehman (Sindh rural) and Nasht Karim Munshi from Sindh Urban.

All of the selected candidates achieved evaluation score between 88 to 94 and remained top in their respective regions and provinces.

Earlier, PhD applicants for Chinese government scholarships had alleged that the HEC alerted the merit list uploaded on April 13 and uploaded a revised list on April 15.

The HEC had stated that due to technical glitch names of all the applicants were uploaded on the website instead of the sixteen successful candidates. The HEC stated that it uploaded the entire merit list in the interest of transparency.