Top post: Shams Kassim Lakha named HEC chairman

Published: September 2, 2013
Shams Kassim Lakha named HEC chairman. PHOTO: FILE

Shams Kassim Lakha named HEC chairman. PHOTO: FILE


Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has decided to appoint Dr Shams Kassim-Lakha as the new head of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), The Express Tribune has learnt.

Sources in the Prime Minister House confirmed that it has been decided in principle to appoint Lakha – a top technocrat and former vice chancellor of Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) – as the new HEC chief. “The notification will be issued soon in this regard,” said the source.

In spite of his non-alignment with any party, Dr Lakha is well-known for his connections amongst various political and academic circles. The HEC’s former chief Javaid Laghari’s five-year contract expired on August 27 last month.

“He is a man with a dynamic personality, and I think he is the best choice,” said Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, the HEC’s executive director.

“Under his leadership, the HEC will thrive again and its financial, quality and sustainability issues will be resolved, due to his experience and connections across the globe,” Ahmad added.

Lakha has also been a member of the HEC’s Ranking Board that reviewed and approved the ranking methodology developed by the commission’s quality assurance committee (QAC).

In 2000, the education ministry constituted a task force for the uplift of education across the country and Lakha was appointed the chairperson of that body. Besides, he was also the member of the HEC first board of governors from 2002 to 2006.

He has co-chaired the commission for the establishment of the University of Central Asia and was appointed as the co-chairman of the taskforce for the Improvement of higher education in Pakistan in 2002.

Educated at the South Bank and Westminster Universities in the UK, and the University of Minnesota, USA, Dr Lakha’s career has spanned industrial development and higher education.

It is due to his versatile personality, sound understanding of national and international issues and performance as a seasoned technocrat that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) nominated Lakha for the prime minister’s slot in the caretaker setup. He has also served as caretaker federal minister for science and technology in 2007.

As founding president and trustee of the AKU, he led the overall planning, construction and operation of the university in Pakistan, East Africa, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria and the UK for over three decades. Under his leadership, the university attained international recognition for the quality of its academic and service programmes in medicine, nursing and education.

In recognition of his services to higher education, health care and public service, he has received national and international awards from the governments of Pakistan and France; as well as the degree of Doctor of Laws ‘Honoris Causa’ from McMaster University of Canada (1984), the Sitara-i-Imtiaz from the president of Pakistan (1999) and several other awards.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 2nd, 2013.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Educated unparth
    Sep 2, 2013 - 9:49AM

    So, he was the head of the Appointments Commission set up by Nawaz Sharif to find heads of various state-enterprises, and the very FIRST appointment made is he himself as head of HEC. Wah bhai wah.

    Anyhow, hope he does good things because we really need education.


  • Asma Qudds, PhD Candidate
    Sep 2, 2013 - 10:03AM

    I am sure he is good person but why they could not find someone from public sector university?

    First they asked ex-LUMS VC Dr. Adil Najam, who refused to accept this post. Then they ask Mr. Lakha and appoint him.

    I would prefer someone who knows govt universities and their problems. Again, this is not against Mr. Lakha just that govt univ problems are different.Recommend

  • SJ
    Sep 2, 2013 - 10:15AM

    very appreciative move indeed


  • Suleman
    Sep 2, 2013 - 10:39AM

    Nice to hear a good named for a reputed Govt. instituition which represented the educated people in global world. Hope he will got the Full power and authority to change the education system in Pakistan.


  • Suleman
    Sep 2, 2013 - 10:44AM

    nice to see a good name for the Govt. reputed institution who represent the educated people of Pakistan in Global world. pray that he got full authority and power to change the Education standard and policy.


  • Leana
    Sep 2, 2013 - 11:01AM

    Best appointment so far.


  • Noble Tufail
    Sep 2, 2013 - 11:17AM

    A decision made on pure merit no doubt. Dr.Lakha will prove it once again .. and this time at national level. Good work PMLN.


  • abdullah
    Sep 2, 2013 - 11:53AM

    I dont think, he made a bad choice. NS has again proved, he is not taking any political advantage of being PM and he is not posting any political background person on such crictical position.


  • Hina Alvi
    Sep 2, 2013 - 12:48PM

    The appointment of Dr Shams Lakha is a very wise step by the PMLN Government in promoting education in the Country.
    This proves that PMLN means real business and no shallow talks!


  • Sulaiman Saleem
    Sep 3, 2013 - 9:58AM

    I hope SKL would be given full authority and funds needed to make HEC an internationally recognized institution, as SKL did with AKU / AKUH to make it an internationally recognized national institution.

    And hope HEC under his leadership would soon resume funding and support for PhD and researchers all over Pakistan.

    Good Luck, SKL and Good Luck, HEC


  • Suleman
    Sep 4, 2013 - 10:29AM


    i agreed with your concern that appointement should be done from govt. educational institution but it’s a misfortune that most of govt appointment done with the political reference and self interest of govt and we can see the same in last appointment of HEC. i am not against any person or bias but my concern is that HEC is our national institution which represent the educated people of Pakisatan Globally. i wrote here because i suffered a lot with HEC policy. i sent educational docunments for attestation/verification thrice to Islamabad and it refused by an idiot officer who doesn’t know the spell of science and engineering with the reason that they have no proper information of their approved program in past. the Bias with the educated people of Karachi is that they have most internation recognised university and HEC open camp office in lahore, peshawar only and no announcement for karachi. the reason behind is that HEC appointed officer for karachi from Islamabad and they are not willing to come to karachi.


    the reason to welcome SKL because he is less political and more self decision person with the past history of Sucess in education institution.


  • mustafa
    Sep 4, 2013 - 11:10AM

    Nawaz Sharif has proved he trust on merit. the appointment of Dr. Shams Kasim Lakh is a excellent step of govt.


  • Masood
    Sep 4, 2013 - 7:05PM

    Dr Shams Lakha is prodigy of Pakistan. This appointment will pave the way for improvement in education sector. Well Done Mian Nawaz Shareef, good decision for the HEC and Pakistan


  • Khan
    Sep 8, 2013 - 7:15PM

    The post should be advertized and an excellent Academician, Administrator and researcher should be appointed through proper selection.


  • excalibur
    Sep 9, 2013 - 12:12PM

    Please validate the news. Tried to contact HEC Chairman’s Office who replied that HEC is still functioning without any Chairman ?


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