ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has decided to form a high-powered committee, comprising three vice chancellors and officers from security agencies, to investigate the Islamia University Bahawalpur (IUB) scandal.
HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed told the National Assembly Standing Committee on Federal Education on Wednesday that the education sector was suffering because of the scandal at the varsity.
He said that even international media was raising this issue and added a high-powered committee was being notified to investigate the matter while a special audit and performance audit of the IUB would be conducted in the near future.
“Today, we will notify this high-powered committee, which will stay in the university for some days to complete the probe,” he said and added that there were 253 universities (both public and private) in the country and because of this issue, students were upset.
“This is unacceptable,” he said and added that universities had policies related to drugs and harassment cases, but “yes, I do agree, there are implementation issues and all stakeholders will have to join hands to ensure proper implementation”.
Headed by MNA Makhdoom Syed Samiul Hassan Gilani, the standing committee endorsed the suggestion of the HEC chief and directed him to expedite the process. The deputy registrar informed the committee that the chief security officer of the IUB had been suspended and was on judicial remand. The committee directed the management of the IUB to submit details at the next meeting.
The IUB registrar who joined the proceedings via videolink told the committee that there might be a few cases of objectionable videos but the issue is being “exaggerated” on social media. He said that the inquiry committee formed by Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi has been probing the matter and its report would be shared with the committee as well.
The committee members said that so far a thorough probe should have been conducted by the university management, but it failed to do so. Members said that the committee should engage the Federal Investigation Agency to probe this matter, adding that a forensic audit of all deans of the university should be carried out by the FIA cyber wing. It also decided to summon the Regional Police Officer of Bahawalpur and FIA Cyber Crime Wing head at the next meeting to be held on July 31 at HEC Secretariat in Islamabad.
Meanwhile, on the agenda item concerning the employees working under the wedlock policy, the deputy director general of the Federal Directorate of Education was directed by the committee to submit a report on non-objection certificates issued by FDE along with the record of employees.
The committee also got a briefing from acting Allama Iqbal Open University VC about the number of promotions and appointments made by the university during the last five years.
Meanwhile, the HEC chairman told the NA panel that the regulatory authority received 30 new applications for NOCs for new varsities. Out of them, he said that eight cases were under process, five NOC were ready, and 17 cases were still pending because of incomplete documents.
Published in Dawn, July 27th, 2023