LAHORE: The appointment of permanent executive director of Higher Education Commission of Pakistan has become a serious issue for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government which claims that education sector is its priority.

Sources claimed that Chairman HEC Dr Tariq Banuri is running day to day affairs of the highest regulatory authority of education for the last two years on adhoc basis in the absence of permanent executive director. Dr Tariq Banuri advertised the post for HEC executive director for the third time just to appoint his favorite person on this post.

Sources told Business Recorder that the chairman failed to find any “capable” person after giving three advertisements. Perhaps there is a certain person that he wants to appoint against the said post, they added. They claimed that 60 candidates submitted their applications when the post was advertised for the third time.

It is pertinent to mention here that the chairman HEC has rejected names of famous educationists and vice chancellors short listed after two advertisements. The sources also claimed when the post was recently advertised for the last time, vice chancellors of five reputed universities applied for the post but the chairman declared the whole process null and void rejecting names of all the candidates.

The sources also said that the chairman HEC does not have the powers of scrapping process of appointment of executive director without the approval of selection board. The sources further claimed that after failing to get “capable” candidate of his own choice, he is considering on a proposal to appoint a bureaucrat on deputation as executive director.

It is pertinent to add that the chairman HEC has already appointed his favorite Fazal Abbas Maikan as Consultant Instructional Reforms and Dr Shaheen Safdar as Rector National Academy for Higher Education on hefty salaries.

The HEC with a budget of Rs 100 billion is without executive director who is responsible for running the financial and administrative matters of the institution. Even Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood and senior officials of the ministry look helpless in front of the powerful Dr Banuri, the sources claimed.

The post is lying vacant since October 22, 2018. The adhoc charge was given to Dr Fateh Muhammad Mari for 90 days but he is still working on the seat with the blessings of chairman, sources privy to the situation told this scribe.

When contacted Chairman HEC Dr Tariq Banuri regarding delay in the appointment of executive director, he said HEC will continue to advertise the post until it finds a suitable candidate. “We will continue to advertise it until we find a suitable candidate. In the meantime, the duties are being performed satisfactorily by the interim ED.”

Federal Minister Education Shafqat Mahmood was contacted several times by this scribe but received no response. Member HEC from Sindh and Vice Chancellor IBA Sukkur Professor Dr Nisar Siddiqui said he don’t know anything about this whole episode as he was not informed by the commission.

Another member of the HEC and Vice Chancellor Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute Shahnaz Wazir Ali refused to answer the question as to why executive director of the commission has not been appointed despite advertisements till date.