In a debate regarding the devolution of the Higher Education Commission in the light of the 18th Amendment, Professor of political science at LUMS Rasul Baksh Rais said that concentrating power at the center has “hurt people and benefited politicians and bureaucrats.”
On The Morning show on Express 24/7, Rais said anything that is incompatible with the 18th Amendment should “be done away with” – even if the institution is the HEC. While he highlighted the importance of the parliamentary act by saying that its implantation should not be blocked “at any cost”, he also expressed his support for devolution and the transfer of rights to provinces.
“The argument that the provinces don’t have the capability (to manage institutions) is wrong,” said Rais, adding that after his interaction with bureaucrats he is convinced that there is “a lot of talent at the provincial level.”
He reiterated that the HEC should only perform the functions defined in the 18th Amendment, and that the management should be taken over by the provinces as the institution has made significant progress like the distribution of scholarships.
Social scientist Fauzia Saeed, who was also present on the show, emphasized the need to “look at the bigger picture” regarding devolution and the 18th Amendment.
She clarified that the debate is not about the performance of HEC and that devolution is not punishment for intuitions based on performance. “The debate is about the provinces’ right to build their institutions,” she said.
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