Saving HEC

This is a Pakpotpourri Exclusive

By: Yasmeen Ali 


Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Are we going to destroy this character? Is HEC going to be devolved? This fine institution that has taken leaps and bounds to reform higher education? I hope not!

A US educational expert Prof. Fred M. Hayward has praised the reform process undertaken by Pakistan: “Since 2002 a number of extraordinary changes have taken place. Over the last six years almost 4,000 scholars have participated in PhD programs in Pakistan. More than 600 students have studied in foreign PhD programs. The Higher Education Commission instituted major upgrades for laboratories and information and communications technology, rehabilitation of facilities, expansion of research support, and development of one of the best digital libraries in the region. A quality assurance and accreditation process was also established. Its successes have been remarkable as the recurrent and development budgets increased 340 percent in real terms from 2001 to 2005/06. By 2008, as a result of its policy and financial successes, most universities had become strong proponents of the Higher Education Commission. Quality had increased significantly, and several institutions were on their way to becoming world-class institutions. Many expatriate Pakistanis returned from abroad with access to competitive salaries. About 95 percent of people sent abroad for training returned, an unusually high result for a developing country in response to improved salaries and working conditions at universities as well as bonding and strict follow-up by the commission, Fulbright, and others(\20\story_20-4-2010_pg7_23).

The HEC is playing a crucial role. After the announcement of its dissolution, USAID has stopped a tranche of $ 250 million for educational grants to students studying abroad. Thousands of students will have to return home, without these.

In its landmark judgment, the Supreme Court had asked the Election Commission to get MPs’ degrees verified by the HEC. This can only be deemed as an acknowledgement of the intellectual integrity of the institution that is HEC. It did a fine job in pin pointing the fake degree holders.

The former Chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Prof Attaur Rahman, stated that all powers and functions of the HEC defined under its legislation are covered and protected in these five provisions of the 18th Amendment through the 4th Schedule (Article 70(4) Federal Legislative Lists Part-I and Part-II). Moreover, the 18th Amendment fully supports and protects the HEC’s current powers and functions from devolution and specifically mentions higher education and research as federal subjects(

Whereas, education may be a local subject, tailored according to the needs and requirements of the provinces, we need a coordinating organization to oversee the uniform quality of higher education, eradicate the plague of plagiarism, and cheating at the highest level of education.

Mr President, Mr Prime Minister, your kind attention is drawn to this crucial issue. Let me recount the story of one Muhammad Saber:

Muhammad Saber, who belonged to a family of very low income group, was an inhabitant of a remote area of Gujranwala. He never even thought of joining GCU Lahore due to financial constraints. In his words “I could not afford to take admission in G C University Lahore, therefore, after my F.Sc, I had planned to take admission in B.Sc. in some college at Gujranwala.” But destiny has its own plans. He happened to read an add in newspaper for admission in G C U Lahore wherein it was mentioned that deserving students would be financially supported through HEC-Japanese Needs Based Scholarship Program. To avail the chance he applied and was selected. He says that “I could not even pay the 1st installment for admission. My all university dues (fee) were funded by HEC JICA Scholarship”.

(While talking to the participants of the ceremony on 20th Sep. 2010 his voice became heavy with the sentiments.) “The dream came true”. He added that,

“Had this financial assistance not been given to me I would not have been able to study in the esteemed G C university Lahore. By concentrating with free mind on my studies, I got Gold Medal in M.Sc. Chemistry.”

He then requested the HEC officials present at the ceremony for continuation of such scholarship programs with following words,

“HEC-JNBS has addressed the financial needs of many students in Pakistan and it is my humble request to the concerned authorities of HEC and of Japanese Government to please continue this scholarship program so that the financial problems of many deserving students like me may be resolved and they may continue their studies.”

Mr. Saber is currently serving in a respectable position in Government of Pakistan as Assistant Superintendent of Jail in District Jail Sialkot.  Mr. Saber is now supporting his family and is able to support education of his family members. Such examples of success are a great source of inspiration for other talented students and also very rewarding for the possessors of the scholarship program.

There are many heart warming stories like that of Muhammad Saber that HEC can proudly boast of!


I am reminded, here, of the words by Theodore Roosevelt, tongue-in-cheek:

“A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education he may steal the whole railroad.”


(The writer is a lawyer and teaches in a Lahore based University)




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  • Shaukat Ali  On April 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Yasmeen, this is nothing. They will destroy anything that doesn’t tow their line. The whole edifice has crumbled. So what is left therel to save? Mine, yours and the whole country’s hearts can only bleed!

  • SQ  On April 7, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Well done, Yasmeen!!! Keep it up!

  • Uzma T. Haroon  On April 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    This is how the revenge is being taken for HEC was the one to point out the fake degrees of the legislators!

  • Haroon Wasti  On April 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    True. The institutions serving well must be maintained unless replaced by a
    better one.

    QUOTE ”
    I am reminded, here, of the words by Theodore Roosevelt, tongue-in-cheek:
    “A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education he may steal the whole railroad.” UN-Quote

    Now I know (tongue in the cheek) why our dear Mush wanted the parliament members special his own followers to be atleast graduates.My apologies to our
    well wishing Dictator, for not appreciating his wisdom earlier.


  • siddiqui my  On April 7, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Dear Ms Yasmeen
    I am glad for voicing positive sentments for HEC; unfortunately we are fond of destroying good institutions
    But then pl tell me how come a brilliant student, qualified from a foreign university in MSc Chemistry with a Gold Medal, ended up as incharge of a Jail ??????????
    Is this not a criminal wast of resources of an intelligent & highly qualified individual ?

    It really beats me !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Yasmeen Ali  On April 8, 2011 at 12:39 am

      Good question Siddiqui Sahib! 🙂 One only the person concerned can answer!
      The obvious answer is he took the CSS .

  • Sağlıklı Bitkiler  On April 8, 2011 at 12:04 am

    Hi; Excellent informations for me. Your post has valuable infos. I want to has good posts like yours in my website. How do you find these posts? And you have a problem about your template.You should fix your problem about your template … I recently came across your blog and have been readingalong. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Very Nice blog. I will keep reading this blog very often.Good day…

    • Yasmeen Ali  On April 8, 2011 at 12:41 am

      Thank you for the kind words. I find the posts because I read. 🙂 BTW do share a link of your blog so I may visit?

  • Parvez Amin  On April 8, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Yasmeen since you know the law, please tell us if there is a legal way to challenge and overturn the government’s decision? Would you like to take up such an assignment? If not, could you suggest a name from the legal community who might?

    • pakpotpourri2  On April 8, 2011 at 1:42 am

      Any thing illegal may be challenged in Court.IF illegal. IF Dr Atta’s interpretation is correct a writ lies in the High Court. I am not a practising lawyer for many years.I teach law.

  • Faisal Imam  On April 8, 2011 at 5:23 am

    MsC Chemistry from GCU serving as a jailor;this is Pakistan.
    he could have been an Attaur rehman;or even a Nobel laurette like Salam Sahib.

  • Admiral Sirohey  On April 8, 2011 at 5:33 am

    It will be a disaster if HEC is dissolved. The education policy making must remain at the center. The implementation of the policy should be the responsibility of the province.

    It seems we are bent upon ensuring the break up of the country.


  • Salim Ullah  On April 8, 2011 at 5:36 am

    Lets keep our fingers cross.

    • Mian Saleem  On April 9, 2011 at 4:27 pm

      Unfortunately people like Shenaz Wazir Ail are also in favour of devloving HEC…. Educated people are bent upon keeping the nation illetrate for their vested interests

      • Shaukat Ali  On April 9, 2011 at 4:28 pm

        Sir, being educated does not always mean being sincere to one’s country. The last 3 years have been hell for us. Astronmical sums are being borrowed both from abroad and home. About 10B US $ are being received here yearly as remitances. Back-breaking price levels of essential commodities are the order of the day. Majority of our people can hardly afford one square meal a day. Most of us can’t even afford to send our children to school. Is this the democracy that they promised us?

  • Iltifat Lone  On April 8, 2011 at 6:36 am

    Yasmeen, an excellent effort. In fact this was the only Department which gave something positive to Pakistan and all credit to Dr Atta ur Rehman. Streamlining the IT industry /institutes in Pakistan is an effort of HEC. Dr Atta apart from making the credibility of HEC made an all out effort to include IT in the budget which has certainly paid dividends. The price of fake degrees is too high! May Almighty Allah bless some honesty, wisdom and loyalty to our Great Leaders.

    • Yasmeen Ali  On April 8, 2011 at 9:05 am

      Thank you for appreciating the effort.

  • Munir  On April 8, 2011 at 9:03 am

    AOA,,,,,,,,really a nice article. Well done madam you are contributing some thing positive.

  • Saeed Baig  On April 8, 2011 at 9:04 am

    What must be done by us? As a first step let us all write to our MNAs, and encourage our friends/contacts to do likewise. Any other ideas?
    Saeed Baig

  • siddiqui my  On April 8, 2011 at 9:57 am

    I suggest Ms Yasmeen should address a petition to the President of Pakistan on behalf of all of us with copies to the PM, Ch Nisar Ali Leader of the oppostion, the three Chiefs of the Armed Forces and brilliant Raza Rabbani and of course Chief Justice of Pakistan

    Do you all like the idea????

  • Rauf  On April 8, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    A beautifully written document. I hope those who are at the
    helm of affairs do read it. or it will be like playing a violin to a deaf elephant.

  • Salim Ullah  On April 9, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    MS sb: Do not quot a whore, it is a very recent past, how she gained cheap popularity & accumulated sympathy to stair the ladder to public office.

  • K. Bajwa  On April 10, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Yasmeen Ji: A superb job.

    Well planned gradual annihilation of institutions is being exercised by the ruling party. When the same ax fell on ISI it wiggled out based on its strength. Unfortunately, HEC does not possess that strength. How sad. What a pity.

  • pakpotpourri2  On April 11, 2011 at 12:22 am

    It’s not the ruling party-the other political parties brought it on the anvil & voted for it. PML N had the highest number of fake degree holders!

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