ISLAMABAD - Higher Education Commissions (HEC) expensive and hectic online degrees verification process has become a permanent source of inconvenience for students, who intend to move abroad for further education or for the sake of job. The limited capacity of attestation department of Higher Education Commission (HEC) and the annoying behaviour of its staff are causing anxiety for the students who come from different parts of the country to get their degrees attested. Due to negligence on part of the authorities concerned, the commission has not so far devised any appropriate strategy in this regard, it is further learnt. Moreover, HEC has reportedly started fleecing the students in the name of hefty degrees attestation fees. It is pertinent to mention here that when the commission was established back in 2002 there was no condition of fee submission for attestation. Director Attestation and Equivalence department of HEC, Dr Abid Ali, when approached by TheNation, said that all dues being collected by the Commission directly went to national exchequer. To a query, he replied that tickets pasted on the students degrees were quite expansive. He said that they (Directorate employees) worked day and night to accommodate the students, so it was also their responsibility to come on time for this purpose. He said that it was wrong perception that HEC was accumulating profit through attestation process adding the students submitted thousands of rupees in embassies of numerous countries like the US and Saudi Arabia but they objected to HEC criterion for the same. Majority came at the last moment without proper documents thus creating hurdles for the staff, he added. He said that the commission had also started the facility of courier service for the purpose that was an additional burden on the staff of the commission. Two counters, one for male candidates and the other for female candidates has been set up and people wait for hours in long queues for their turn. Even there is no separate counter for senior citizens and they are also ill-treated. Background talks and meetings with HEC officials revealed that the newly introduced strange formula of the Commission, 'First come first get is confusing even for its own officials. Those who reach late are not even allowed to enter the premises of the commission no matter how far they come from and where they would stay at night. It is relevant to mention here that the attestation of degrees, transcripts and diplomas awarded by the certified universities and degree awarding institutions of Pakistan, both in public and private sector, was transferred to the HEC by the government in May 2,000. HEC is also the sole regulatory body of higher education in the country entrusted with the job to determine the equivalence and recognition of degrees, diplomas and certificates awarded by institutions within the country and abroad, which is done by the same department.