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PM concerned over political interference in HEC

Zubair Qureshi

Prime Minister Imran Khan has shown serious concern over reports of political interference in higher education sector of the country.
In a telephonic conversation with Chairman HEC, Dr Tariq Banuri, here on Thursday Prime Minister directed the Higher Education Commission chief to identify and ban all such practices and look into complaints of political interference and make the working of the higher education sector transparent at all levels and corruption-free.
Chairman HEC briefed the Prime Minister about Higher Education Commission (HEC) and various projects for the uplift of higher education.
He assured the prime minister that he would personally look into the complaints and make the HEC a corruption-free body.
HEC will continue to play an affirmative role for increasing access to higher education, improve its quality and ensure its relevance to socio-economic needs of the country, said Dr Tariq Banuri.
Later, while responding to a query by Pakistan Observer a senior official of PM Office said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was recently informed that a number of politicians and parliamentarians belonging to the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have tried to influence in award of scholarships and matters relating to PhD thesis and the HEC chief has not only resisted them but also conveyed it to the PM secretariat.
Responding to the complaints of political influencing, the Prime Minister on Thursday assured the leadership of the commission his all out support and directed to observe zero tolerance on such matters.
Prime Minister office will not only support you against any kind of political interference but will also take action against those who are found to be using such illegal practices, the sources quoted Prime Minister as saying.
An official of the Higher Education Commission when contacted to respond to the news said HEC chief had talked to PM Khan earlier in the day and PM talked to him on political interference.
Spokesperson for HEC while talking to Pakistan Observer dismissed corruption or corrupt practices in HEC. She said Prime Minister talked to HEC Chief in the backdrop of some news stories appeared in a section of media Thursday with reference to senior media persons meeting with the Chairman a day earlier in which it was pointed out that sometimes members of HEC various committees and syndicates gave their input which was interpreted by newspapers as some sort of political interference.
Prime Minister talked to HEC Chairman in that perspective, she said adding there is no such thing as political influence or recommendation by any side on HEC.