Islamabad - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Thursday sought reply from the federal government, Prime Minister Secretariat and Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan in a petition challenging the appointment of Dr Mukhtar Ahmad as Chairman HEC.

 A single member bench of IHC comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui conducted the hearing of a writ petition moved by Arsal Ikram through his counsel Muhammad Shoaib Shaheen Advocate and Muhammad Umair Baloch. Justice Siddiqui also directed all the above-mentioned respondents to submit their reply within a week in this matter and deferred the hearing.

Petitioner’s counsels contended before the court that the appointment of chairman HEC was not made as per the prescribed law.

They maintained that first search committee constituted by the prime minister for the appointment of chairman HEC which was headed by Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning Development & Reform. This search committee shortlisted 11 candidates for interview.

The counsel stated that the committee further shortlisted three candidates, including Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, Dr Najma and Dr Niaz Ahmed after conducting interview on Feb 11, 2014 and their names were sent to the PM for the final selection.  

The petitioner added that the committee received total 103 applications for the said post.

However, he added that the PM dissolved the committee and constituted another Search Committee headed by Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Federal Minister for Water & Power following the controversy raised after the short listing of three above mentioned candidates by the first search committee.

Later, the PM appointed Dr Mukhtar Ahmad as a permanent chairman HEC, who was rejected by him earlier while reviewing name of three candidates approved by first search committee.

Therefore, the petitioner requested the court that a candidate who was rejected could not be included in the selection process as per the prescribed law.

He prayed before the bench to declare Dr Mukhtar Ahmad’s appointment as Chairman HEC as illegal. Meanwhile, in pursuance of the direction of the Chief Justice Islamabad High Court (IHC) a condolence reference in connection with Peshawer Attack was held in the common room of IHC.

The reference was attended by the Chief Justice IHC, Judges of IHC, Acting Registrar IHC, Member Inspection Team, Additional Registrars, Additional Advocate Generals, Deputy Advocate Generals and standing counsels.

During the reference, Qari Shahid mehmood made recitation from the Holy Quran and all the participants prayed to Almighty Allah to keep the departed souls of 150 innocent students and teachers who embraced martyrdom in the terrorists’ attack, in eternal peace and also give courage to the bereaved families.