ISLAMABAD: A Senate panel has proposed greater parliamentary oversight over the affairs of COMSATS which will be upgraded from an institute to a fully fledged university.
The Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology on Thursday, while approving the bill to convert the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology into COMSATS University, suggested appointing the Minister for Science and Technology as one of the rectors of the varsity.
Moreover, an MNA and a senator would be on the board of the university. Surprisingly, a member of the committee called for conducting annual physical and mental health tests for senior members of the varsity’s faculty.
The committee unanimously approved COMSATS University Bill, 2017 with a few amendments.
The committee, which met with Senator Osman Saifullah Khan in the chair, directed the Ministry of Science and Technology to submit its report on the proposed changes within three days. He said it was surprising that first the draft of the bill was changed and then the changes were withdrawn within seven days.
The panel recommended appointing two pro-chancellors for the university. One would be the executive director while the other would be the Minister for Science and Technology.
The body directed to establish a committee which would recommend nominees for the post of rector. This committee would formulate rules and report to the senate committee within a month in this regard.
The Senate panel further recommended including a MNA and a senator on the Board of Governors (BoG) of COMSATS University to streamline its functioning.
Senator Mandviwalla called for comparative analysis of the Quaid-i-Azam University Act for developing a draft for COMSATS University.
He also recommended physical and mental fitness tests for senior employees of the university.
Meanwhile, chastising the law ministry for sending junior officials to the meeting, Senator Ateeq Shaikh said the ministry’s senior officials had a habit of skipping meetings and sending their sub-ordinates.
The law ministry, Shaikh said, at times changes the text of bills even after the approval of concerned committee.
Senators Azam Khan Swati, Prof Sajid Mir, Lt Gen (Retd) Abdul Qayyum, Saleem Mandviwala and Mian Ateeq Shaikh attended the meeting.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2017.