ISLAMABAD: The Cabinet Division has yet to reissue a letter, cancelling the presidential award conferred on the former pro-rector of Comsats University and chief of the National Testing Service (NTS), a month after it withdrew the initial letter for being erroneous.
Former pro-rector of the CIIT and the NTS chief executive director Haroon Rashid was sacked after it was determined that his PhD thesis was plagiarised.
Subsequently, Preston University in Islamabad revoked his degree. He was also first suspended and later dismissed in June from the CIIT by its board of governors (BoG).
NTS – a mystery that begs to be solved
He was awarded Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 2003 for his “meritorious services”, but last year’s Higher Education report has found about 72 per cent plagiarism in his PhD thesis which was later confirmed by a probe body formed by Preston University which issued the degree in 2006.
“The government of Pakistan has been pleased to approve the withdrawal of Tamgha-e-Imtiaz conferred on you on March 23, 2013,” stated the notification of the Cabinet Division issued on September 5.
“It is, therefore, requested that the medallion along with parchment, citation and velvet boxes may kindly be returned to this division at the earliest convenience.”
Interestingly, the letter was withdrawn a day after it was sent as it wrongly mentioned the return of ‘Tamgha-e-Imtiaz’ instead of ‘Sitara-i-Imtiaz’. Despite the passage of a month, the division has yet to proceed with the letter.
When contacted, the official concerned gave the same reply twice given to The Express Tribune in the past – “soon the new letter would be dispatched to Rashid”.
In addition, the NTS again came under strong criticism of the Senate Standing Committee on Communications on Thursday in which it discussed testing services, their recruitment and test criteria.
PML-Q Senator Kamil Ali Agha criticised the policy of conducting recruitment tests through the NTS.
“When it has been proved that the NTS is a private body, why are tests being carried out through the service?” he asked, adding the FPSC could play a better role for recruitment in the public sector.
Senator Kalsoom Parveen also demanded that the audit of the body should be carried out from 2002, while Senator Usman Kakar also stated that all recruitments should be made through the FPSC to maintain transparency.
Hanging in balance: Fate of CIIT students still undecided
This is not the first time that a parliamentary panel has raised eyebrows over the managerial and financial details of the NTS. Special committees and the Public Accounts Committee have also been discussing the issue at length for one reason or the other but nothing could be done.
The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) is looking into the financial and statutory details of the NTS and replied to the scribe in an email that a probe was under way about the testing service -- including ascertaining its status that “whether it is a private or public sector body” along with the financial details of the body which the SECP had termed in its initial inquiry ‘dubious and irregular’.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 6th, 2016.
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