ISLAMABAD After a bit of arm-twisting of the Higher Education Commission Chairman Dr Javaid Leghari, the Government has turned this autonomous state outfit into a toothless watchdog by making it a subordinate body to the Ministry of Education. Although Leghari has told his closest friends that he was duty-bound to comply with the orders of the Prime Minister, yet he was deeply hurt by the two bizarre moves; one by the Sindh Government to manhandle his brother and second by the Central Government to undermine his Commissions autonomy, sources close to the HEC Chairman informed TheNation on condition of anonymity. According to the sources, the Sindh Governments move to arrest Legharis brother, a respected member of the bureaucracy, was very well calculated one to check the pace of the Commission verifying the degrees of the MPs. The sources were of the view that majority of PPP MPs in Sindh Assembly were feared to have fake degrees. In case the HEC was not checked by hook or by crook, it could have troubled the PPPs coalition Government in Sindh. That is why the Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza, the closest friend of President Zardari, moved in his own style and got Legharis brother booked in an alleged corruption case, the sources added. According to the sources, when Leghari complained to the Prime Minister about the treatment his brother was given in Sindh, the latter advised him 'not to take it personally. The Prime Minister got his brother released and lessened his burden by putting him under the Education Ministry for degrees verification issue, the sources added. Similarly, when the HEC Chairman complained to President Asif Ali Zardari during his late Tuesday night meeting that the Prime Minister had undermined the Commissions autonomy by asking him to report to the Education Minister, he got the same answer 'dont take it personally. When asked Presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar to comment, he preferred not to say anything other than that the HEC Chairman met the President and briefed him about the issue of degrees verification. Thus, the sources observed, the PPP leadership has simply prevailed over not only the Commission making it as a toothless docile outfit but also ran over the outstanding persona of HEC Chairman by breaking him through highhandedness. Therefore, following the instructions of the Prime Minister, the Commission has sent its preliminary report on MPs fake degrees to the Ministry of Education. As per the spirit of the HEC law, this report should have been sent to the Prime Minister directly, as the Ministry cannot legally interfere in the HECs matters. It has been learnt that the Commission would submit its weekly report to the Ministry, which has nothing to do with this process, as the HEC is an autonomous body and its chairman has the status of a federal minister. The HEC has asked the universities to complete the verification process by July 27 and send back all the degrees to the Commission. The Commission has received, so far, 761 degrees from the universities and out of them 43 are invalid or fake while 208 are genuine. About nine cases of degrees are in courts and 50 to 60 degrees are still awaited from Election Commission off Pakistan for verification. Recently, the HEC received 34 more degrees from the ECP, which have been sent to the universities for verification. Earlier, the Commission had sent 936 degrees on June 29 and 103 degrees on July 13 to the various universities. Meanwhile, Abid Sher Ali, Chairman of National Assemblys Standing Committee on Education has also expressed his concerns over the involvement of the Education Ministry in the matter. He said the personality of the Minister is controversial, as he has given statements against the verification process so he has no right to keep the record of degrees. Abid Sher Ali said after meeting with the Prime Minister, there was no need to meet the President and the Chairman of HEC should not have met the President. He said the Government is creating hurdles in the process, as it was doing in Farah Dogar Case.