ISLAMABAD–The lingering issue of illegal appointments and extensions at Higher Education Commission (HEC) remains still unresolved, as both the commission and the Establishment Division are sticking to their different stances while the Prime Minister,who is the Controlling Authority, overlooks and fails to address the issue.

The official data available with TheNation shows that the Establishment Division and Ministry of Law and Justice have been raising questions about appointments and extensions in Management Position Scales (MP Scale) I to III made by the HEC, saying that the recruitment in MP Scales is the prerogative of the Prime Minister, but HEC appointed MP Scales officials without getting approval from him and even extended their services in violation of set rules and procedures.

However, the officials of the HEC claim that the members of the Commission of HEC are appointed by the PM and they are empowered to make decisions according to Ordinance rules.

And the HEC has nothing to do with the Establishment Division as it an autonomous body, opined HEC Media Manager Murtaza Noor.

According to information, though, the HEC has the authority of making appointments on such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by the federal government and Commission is further authorized to make rules for recruitment, but these rules must have prior approval of the competent authority i.e. Prime Minister vide clause 21of the HEC Ordinance 2002. And the existing recruitment rules 2009 have not been approved as per requirement.

The employees have challenged the rules and appointment made under the rules in Islamabad High Court and the Establishment Division has also sought a report from the HEC regarding the approval of recruitment rules.

A high official of Establishment Division who wished not to be named informed that ‘if the service rules have been approved by the Prime Minister then the appointments and extensions are according to the rules but if the rules have not been approved by the PM then the whole process is illegal’.

The recent extensions to HEC Executive Director Dr Sohail H Naqvi and Advisor Human Resource Development Dr. Riaz Hussain Qureshi inMP Scale-I & II respectively too have been termed not only a violation of set rules of Establishment Division but also HEC Ordinance which says that the ED is a member of 17-memberCommission of HEC and as per Clause 5 of the Ordinance‘ the Chairperson and the Members shall hold office for a period of four years and shall in no case be eligible for reappointment for more than one similar term’ according to a member of the Commission who requested anonymity.

The matter of appointment of Dr. Sohai lNaqvi as ED and other officials has been highlighted in the media, earlier, too quoting Establishment letters. But the Ministry of Law and Justice in an opinion asked by the Establishment Division had expressed rather harsh views.

The Ministry while giving various arguments concluded that the appointment of ED was illegal, as the mode of transfer from IT Division to HEC and appointment in PM Scale was not duly followed.

It went on to say that all benefits derived from17-02-2003 up till now be recovered from him. His name be put in the Exit Control List.

The Chairman NAB and FIA DG may be moved to take action i.e. to lodge F.I.R after verifying from record, against all concerned who were involved in the above mal-administration/ mal-practice.

The concerned authorities may pass consequential orders accordingly and report to theEstablishment Division and PM Secretariat, the ministry maintained.

The Establishment Division fully supported the comment of Ministry of Law and Justice vide their U.O.No 1/12/2002-E-6, dated July 2011 and the matter was moved to the Prime Minister Secretariat but the Secretariat might be overlooked the matter.