ISLAMABAD - Chairman Public Accounts Committee and Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah claimed yesterday that an information technology institution Comsats was involved in awarding illegal degrees and it had signed an agreement with a UK-based university without approval of the government.

He explained that students of Comstas could get a degree of a British university paying just 2,000 pounds while sitting at home.

He, however, directed the Auditor General of Pakistan to take a serious notice of this issue and conduct a special audit of the COMSATS and submit a report to PAC in this regard.

He asked the COMSATS that it should have sought permission from the Higher Education Commission and the Pakistan Engineering Council before signing this agreement with a foreign university. During the meeting, the managing director of HBFC revealed that HBFC was yet to recover Rs 4.2 billion from its 34,000 clients. The chairman directed the HBFC to submit the details of its defaulters.

Secretary Finance Dr Waqar Masood told the committee that government could not stop printing of Rs 5,000 currency note because a huge portion of Pakistani business depended on currency notes. He said if the government put a ban on the printing of Rs 5,000 note, the business community would have faced much trouble.

He said ban was imposed on the printing of five rupees note because its cost was Rs 2.03 and the hundred rupees note was Rs 3.

Shiekh Rashid Ahmed, member of the committee, pointed out that millions of rupees were spent on refreshments of the government officials, which was not a good sign for the country’s economy. The secretary finance explained that the government had reduced its expenditures regarding the hospitality.