Sun, 16 May 2021

Karachi [Pakistan], April 5 (ANI): Pakistan's civil society, human rights and labour rights activists have demanded the Imran Khan government to withdraw the new Higher Education Commission (HEC) Ordinance, while also calling for the reinstatement of the former HEC chairman Dr Tariq Banuri.

In a joint resolution passed on Friday in the presence of Dr Banuri at the office of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), the activists expressed serious concerns over the ordinance, claiming that it has undermined the role of HEC and reduced its chairman's tenure from four to two years, reported The News International.

Demanding the restoration of Dr Banuri as the HEC chairman, the activists claimed that the government had passed the ordinance in violation of the HEC law and the constitution. The resolution also demanded the restoration of the independent role of the HEC without any government influence.

The government had removed Dr Banuri last month. The notification removing the HEC head was issued after the promulgation of a presidential ordinance, according to Dawn.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Banuri said that the HEC was a regulatory organisation established in 2002, which was not a part of the government at the time. "The government initially asked me to resign, but after my refusal, it made an amendment in the HEC law to remove me," he said.

The former HEC chairman said that the government initiated a systematic harassment process that included making National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases against the authorities of the commission on the appointment issue, The News International reported.

Claiming the ordinance has destroyed the regulatory system of higher education in Pakistan, he said that he had filed a consultation petition in the Sindh High Court and its next hearing was fixed for April 8.

Dr Banuri also alleged private sector universities were minting money and that he had tried to solve the problems of professors and students.

"When I joined the HEC, vital decisions were being made in a feudal manner, which has been changed now," he remarked. (ANI)

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