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ISLAMABAD: The federal government has removed Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Tariq Banuri, with immediate effect.

The Cabinet Secretariat has issued a notification, which stated: "In terms of sub-section (5), read with sub-section (5A), of Section 6 of Higher Education Commission Ordinance, 2002, as amended vide Higher Education Commission (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021; Dr Tariq Banuri has ceased to be the Chairperson, Higher Education Commission forthwith and is accordingly removed from the said post, with immediate effect".

Dr Banuri was appointed in 2018 for a four-year term during the tenure of PML-N when Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was the prime minister.

There were reportedly some complaints against him, accusing him of running the HEC on an ad hoc basis.

Dozens of consultants were recruited on hefty salaries of directors who were reportedly not fulfilling the required criteria.

The National Accountability Bureau had launched an investigation against him for corruption, irregularities, mismanagement, and appointment of consultants.

The Cabinet Committee for disposal of Legislative Cases (CCLC) had proposed a Presidential ordinance to remove the HEC chairman.

Educationists and experts have also criticised the government's move, saying it would further damage the already shattered system of higher education.

Dr Adil Najam, Dean, Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University, slammed the authorities on his removal, and said Dr Tariq Banuri is being bullied out by pygmies for trying to mend a broken system.

Mosharraf Zaidi, another expert on the sector, said this government has devoured many competent people and spit them out-but none were so qualified or so effective as was Dr Tariq Banuri.

He meticulously sought out champions for change in the universities themselves, empowered VCs that could alter the academic culture.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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