ISLAMABAD  - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday directed the federal government to apprise the court about specific date and updated status on the process for appointment of a permanent Chairman of Higher Education Commission (HEC) by the coming Monday.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddique conducted the hearing of a petition seeking appointment of a permanent Chairperson of HEC. During the hearing, Justice Siddiqui remarked that the office of chairman HEC is a statutory position and non-appointment of permanent chairman HEC is a very serious issue and matter of great concern which has been reported in print and electronic media.

He directed the standing counsel to bring the matter in to the notice of HEC controlling authority, Prime Minister of Pakistan.  Standing counsel Jehangir Jadoon informed the court that as per information provided by federal ministry of education & training, the summary for appointment of regular chairman HEC had been moved by the ministry to Prime Minister Secretariat.  Umar Hanif Khichi advocate appearing on behalf of Prof. Dr. Atta ur Rahman stated that as per HEC Act, the federal government has to appoint regular chairman with in 90 days.

However, he added that the office of permanent chairman HEC is still lying vacant even after lapse of four months, which is negatively affecting the affairs of sole higher education regulatory authority of the country. Former chairman HEC Dr. Atta-ur-Rahman had filed the writ petition in IHC for the appointment of permanent and regular chairperson of HEC as per HEC Act without any further delay through a transparent and merit based mechanism.

Dr Atta cited principal secretary to prime minister and secretary education and standards in higher education as respondents.

In his petition, the President PAS stated that since former chairperson’s first four-year term ended on August 26th, 2013, therefore, since to the present, the office of the Chairperson HEC has been vacant, which is a statutory office and most significant in role. After issuing the afore-mentioned directions, the single bench of IHC deferred the hearing till January 6.

Security to former CJP: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday served notices on the Interior Ministry, Secretary Cabinet Division and Inspector General (IG) Islamabad Police in a petition moved for the provision of security to former chief justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui also directed them to submit their reply on the next hearing that what steps they have taken for the security of the former CJP.

During the hearing of the petition, an additional secretary of Interior Ministry appeared before the court and said that the ministry has provided a bulletproof car and 16 persons for the security of the former CJP. In the meantime, Riaz Hanif Rahi advocate filed another application while praying to the court that the security to the former CJP may not be provided. “If it were done, then all the former CJPs of Pakistan would also demand security in the same manner that would be an extra burden to the national exchequer,” he maintained.

For provision of foolproof security to Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, former president Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) Sheikh Ahsan-ud-Din argued before the court that the government is providing security to a person who abrogated the constitution and as many as 1,100 security personal have been deployed for his security. “Whereas the person who upheld the Pakistan’s Constitution and served the country has been provided with the security of 04 persons only,” he informed the court. 

Advocate Ahsan-ud-Din had filed this petition seeking from the court to issue directions regarding provision of security to the former CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. The petitioner argued before the court that the former President Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and former army chief were enjoying foolproof security measures. In this connection, he maintained that a Sindh High Court bench through a decision had directed the concerned government officials to provide security to the former president.  The petitioner informed the court that the former chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry is world famous and after retirement, various bar associations around the country are inviting him to address their members.  Ahsan-ud-Din added that he is also being invited for lectures by different universities and while moving around the country he needed security as he had been very active during his office tenure and played a historical role.

He argued that the former CJP, in his time, decided many cases against the power wielding forces of the country and for that reason he needed security.

The petitioner told the court that at the moment, he is not being provided with requisite security that is his right. Justice Siddiqui will take up the matter again on Friday (today) for further proceedings.