ISLAMABAD - The future of thousands of students is at stake, as HEC could not release the pledged funds to the students studying under the HEC Scholarship Scheme within the country as well as in foreign institutions, TheNation learnt reliably on Friday. Owing to negligence on the part of the authorities concerned, currently more than 4,000 students in the foreign universities are badly suffering from scarcity of funds, as they have received serious warning notices for early submission of dues from their respective universities. It is relevant to mention here that the same numbers of the students, studying under Indigenous HEC Scholarship Programme, have also become victims of this oblivion on part of HEC across the country. The government has not released third quarter of HEC funds amounting to Rs 3.5 billions yet, which has resulted in unpleasant situation for the students who are studying under HEC scholarship scheme across the globe, authentic sources revealed to TheNation. Earlier, the government had approved massive cut on HEC funds. Due to fund shortages HEC decided to shelve its Human Resource Department for the unidentified period, under which scholarship was being awarded to the deserving students. HEC Chairperson Begum Shehnaz Wazir Ali, when contacted, said that foreign scholars would be protected at every cost. She further said, "I and my government would provide every kind of protection to the HEC scholars throughout their studies." To a query, she replied that due to prevailing financial crisis, HEC was partially affecting from fund shortages. She said that government would fulfil its commitments. The sources further told that students, studying in foreign universities, had been facing serious consequences due to stoppage of funds, as they were living in miserable conditions. They were not able to meet their daily expenses there, as they were restricted to earn by the said universities, sources informed. Those students who are enrolled in the US and UK universities could not pay their fee of this semester. It is difficult for them to do jobs to meet their daily life expenses with their tough studies schedule. They said that as per the rule of the said institutes a student couldn't work more than a few hours. One of the HEC officials on the condition of anonymity told TheNation that the discriminatory behaviour of the present government towards HEC was being justified by the HEC high-ups. He said that government did not stop the salaries of the employees of the commission on condition of their silence over the government cruel decision to rolling back the entire system of the commission established back in 2002. The source further told that earlier HEC bigwigs were reluctant to accept the government decision but when they got assurance of their jobs security they since then had been advocating the government's each and every irrational decisions without realising the consequences of their blind support for the government. Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, Member Operations and planning HEC, when contacted said that entire country was suffering through financial crunch so one could not see the HEC in isolation. To a query, he said that the HEC had no other option but to obey the government decision, as they were servants of the government. He was optimistic regarding the positive response from the government side. He lauded the HEC Chairperson role in uplifting the Commission.