ISLAMABAD : The new management of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has issued a controversial circular warning its staff against leaking unauthorised communication.
The letter from the human resource management says, “It has been noticed with grave concern that reliably some of the officers of HEC have indulged themselves in practice of leaking unauthorised communication, information and document with an ulterior motive.”
It warns that it is in violation of Government Servants (conduct) Rules 1964. Unauthorised communication of official documents is not only against the norms of discipline but also falls within the definition of misconduct and attracts disciplinary rules, it states.
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The circular further notifies that “all officials of the HEC should in their own interest refrain from the practice of such communication to avoid strict disciplinary action under the said rules, which may lead to the imposition of penalties mentioned in the rules.”
Several members of the staff have criticised the notification for barring officials from sharing any news, documents or other internal communication.
It has warned that action under Official Secret Act, 1923, can also be applied wherever applicable, and all the heads of divisions have been directed to note for strict compliance.
The circular has been issued with the approval of the newly appointed chairperson Tariq Banuri. For the last few weeks, since the appointment of Banuri, several news reports appeared related to the Executive Director (ED) Arshad Ali for his alleged plagiarism and “inaction of the management”.
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An official of the HEC told The Express Tribune that ‘it was irking the executive director’ and the said circular was issued with the approval of the chairperson. He [Arshad Ali] is in hot waters since the alleged news of his plagiarism in research papers came to surface, the official added.
Several HEC officials have termed the letter discriminatory and an effort to hide what is going inside the commission.
An official said it was for the first time in HEC history that the staff would be penalised for sharing information with media “though media has been quite unfair in reporting during tenure of the last two chairpersons.”
The ED was contacted for the version about the notification but he did not reply despite several attempts.
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Moreover the new chairperson has started taking presentations from each division about their performance and future goals. And the officers who attended the meetings have said that so far Banuri has expressed his dissatisfaction with the commission’s overall performance.
The HEC is also due to hold meeting of its governing body this month while the vice chancellors committee meeting will be held on July 9.
The commission has not met since February 2016, and more than 100 agenda items are pending before the governing body.
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