ISLAMABAD - The Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman through a letter has requested the Prime Minister to restore the autonomy of the Commission and nullify the amendments made in the Rules of Business 1973.

The Ministry of Finance on April 17 had written to the HEC that its administrative control has been given to the Ministry of Education and Training and now onward the funds would not be released directly to the Commission but through the Ministry of Education and Training. A number of other amendments have been incorporated in the Rules of Business 1973 allocating different functions of the HEC to other Divisions such as Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Inter Provincial Coordination.

HEC Chairman Dr. Javaid Laghari proposed Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso, being the controlling authority of the HEC, to consider that 'the Cabinet Division notifications regarding allocation of functions of HEC to other Divisions and/or Ministries and corresponding amendments in the Rules of Business may be withdrawn or suitably amended in accordance with the HEC Ordinance No. LIII of 2002'.  It also states that the 'in conformity with the Cabinet Business at Serial # (1)(7) of Schedule-II, a suitable amendment to the Rules of Business 1973 may be made that respects and provides for autonomy of HEC as prescribed under law and meets ancillary needs to carry out business of the Government concerning HEC. For instance, HEC may be declared as subject of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Division may be entrusted with the responsibility to represent HEC in Parliamentary businesses'.

He also proposed that the amendment in the Rules of Business 1973 made earlier may be withdrawn and the Executive Director, HEC, shall be given the status of Federal Secretary so that he may submit summaries or cases to Cabinet directly.

The Chairman maintains in the letter that following 18th Amendment that fully supports the current powers and functions of the HEC through the 4th Schedule (Article 70(4) Federal Legislative Lists Part-I and Part-II). The Supreme Court in its order has directed that "HEC shall continue discharging its functions and duties as it has been doing in the past unless and until a fresh legislation is promulgated" and ".......... and in case of any conflict/in-consistency between the notification and the provisions of the Ordinance, the Ordinance shall prevail".