The fate of management position (MP) scale officers at the Higher Education Commission (HEC) is hanging in the balance, as a committee formed to come up with recommendations for extensions three months back has failed to come to a decision.
At a meeting in April, the HEC formed a three-member committee headed by former State Bank governor Dr Ishrat Hussain to make recommendations for extensions in the contracts of the current crop of MP-scale officers. But three months on, the committee has yet to come up with recommendations.
Anis Sadozai, an MP-III officer, whose contract expired on March 9, has been given a one-year extension by the HEC in total disregard of rules, despite the fact that all extensions and appointments of MP-scale officers are to be decided by a three-member committee comprising federal secretaries of finance, science and technology and education, under the rules.
Presently, Monitoring Adviser Jalil Ahmed and Quality Assurance Managing Director Khawaja Azam Ali work in MP-II, Learning and Innovation Director General (DG) Noor Amina Malik and Quality Assurance DG Zia Batool and Information Technology DG Anwar Amjad work in MP-III. Nearly all of them have completed their service tenure.
The committee in its April 15 meeting also granted a one-year extension to two MP-scale officers besides forming another body to recommend extensions for others. The contracts of four other MP-scale officers came under discussion and some participants had expressed the view that it should be the HEC’s prerogative to decide.
The second item on the meeting’s agenda was deciding the salary package of HEC Executive Director Dr Mukhtar, who was appointed on January 20. The committee has not come up with a proposal as yet. A source at the HEC said Mukhtar has been offered the package of a vice-chancellor to avoid controversy over appointments in MP scales, which is not the HEC’s prerogative.
When contacted, HEC Chairperson Javaid Laghari said that unless the committee came up with recommendations, he would not be in a position to comment on the issue. Last year, a controversy rocked the HEC when it decided to give an extension to former executive director Sohail Naqvi for the third time, but the Supreme Court intervened and reversed the decision.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2013.