HEC billions | Bahria University convocation

Confusion over documents about spending of billions
Islamabad, Nov 29: Suspecting massive irregularities in accounts of Higher Education Commission (HEC), the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) has threatened disciplinary action against the Commission's management for hindering its functions and non provision of key record pertaining to its expenditure for the year 2012-2013.

According to audit document available with The News, the HEC management did not provide key financial documents to audit authorities despite repeated requests, a move that can make it liable to disciplinary action under the relevant law.

The document states that management of Higher Education Commission (HEC) Islamabad was requested to provide the record including details of long term and short term investments; record pertaining to deposit of surplus/unspent funds into government treasury, and record pertaining to payments/expenditure amounting to Rs1.76 billion met out of the funds transferred from the Assignment Account No. 2159-7 to Bank account No. 7060-4 maintained with HBL, Islamabad.

"Audit is of the view that in the absence of record, the authenticity of the expenditure could not be ascertained besides the management hindered the auditorial functions of AGP by not providing the relevant record," says the para 03 of the audit report. "Audit recommends that responsibility be fixed for hindering the audit functions of the AGP besides non-production of record to Audit," says the document.

In response to objections raised by AGP, the management of the commission replied that record of HEC employees fund accounts was provided to Audit. Unspent balance of PSDP funds amounting to Rs30.055 million were surrendered to Government of Pakistan against completed projects. Regarding record pertaining to expenditure incurred from funds transferred to Bank Account No. 7060-4 maintained with HBL Islamabad. HEC management also mentioned that these were transferred to foreign remittances.

However the audit authorities did not accept the response saying that "detail of other long-term/short term investments, unspent balances of PSDP funds surrendered was not provided to audit. Cash book, expenditures detail and vouchers of transactions made from Bank Account No. 7060-4 were not provided."

When contacted by The News, Executive Director of HEC, Dr Mukhtar Ahmed denied that the commission is hiding any information from Audit authorities. "There must be some misunderstanding as we have provided them with all required information," Dr Mukhtar said adding that a written response will be sent to audit authorities to further remove their objections.

He said if the authorities could not be convinced the issue will be discussed in DAC (departmental audit committee).According to audit document, Section 14 (2) of 2001 Ordinance regarding Auditor Generals Functions and Powers states that the officer in charge of any office or department shall afford all facilities and provide record for audit inspection and comply with requests for information in as complete a form as possible and with all reasonable expedition.

Similarly, Section 14(3) of the ordinance also states that any person or authority hindering the auditorial functions of the Auditor General regarding inspection of accounts shall be subject to disciplinary action under relevant efficiency and discipline rules, applicable to such person.Earlier audit authorities had also raised serious objections on modified salary package and irregular payment of salary to Executive Director who is principal accounting officer of HEC.

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SC directs govt to appoint HEC chairman in 15 days
Islamabad: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the government to make appointment of regular chairman of Higher Education Commission (HEC) within 15 days.

A three-member bench of the apex court, led by Justice Nasirul Mulk, took up law colleges' case for hearing. During the hearing, the court remarked that no acting appointment can be made on regular posts. The court was told that two names had been presented for appointment of HEC chairman and consultation process was under way. Imtiaz Hussain Gillani had been appointed as acting chairman for the time being, it was told.

The court expressed displeasure over it, remarking, "This is a regular post and neither any ad hoc appointment can be made against this post, nor an acting chairman can be appointed."The HEC and Punjab University Lahore presented two reports in the court with reference to the inspection of law colleges.

Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Vice Chairman Syed Qalab Hussain told the court he had reviewed these reports and it was said therein Punjab University has completed inspection of 24 law colleges and inspection of 10 law colleges will be conducted soon. The court was told by the PBC that three different rules and regulations were enacted in different years with reference to law colleges and four weeks will be needed to review them. Justice Mulk remarked, "We cannot make any compromise on the standard of education of law. We cannot tolerate such long delay on this important matter; therefore we are giving two weeks." The court directed the PBC to evolve rules and regulations within two weeks and present report thereof before it.

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Bahria University holds 10th convocation
Islamabad: Bahria University has incorporated in its system extra educational measures to promote multi-faceted education. The academia should come forward with strong commitment to contribute to the nation-building process, as the nation is set to embark on strengthening state institutions.

These views were shared by Pro-Chancellor of Bahria University and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Mohammad Asif Sandila NI(M) who was chief guest at the 10th Convocation of the Bahria University held at the Jinnah Convention Centre here on Saturday to commemorate the academic accomplishments of its students.

Students were honoured with gold medals and silver medals for their outstanding achievements in their academic career at the convocation. The pro-chancellor of Bahria University conferred degrees on the graduating students of masters and undergraduate programmes. In total 965 students were awarded degrees.

Naval Chief Admiral Mohammad Asif Sandila NI(M) along with Bahria University Rector Vice Admiral (r) Shahid Iqbal HI(M) awarded 20 gold medals and 17 silver medals to students, who achieved top positions in their respective departments to acknowledge their outstanding performance.

Anwa Sohail, Sidra Malik, Ubbaid-Ullah Amir, Maham Khalil, Madeeha Tahir, Usman Afzal of Management Sciences Department, Sana Mahmud and Sidra Riaz of BSS Humanities and Social Sciences Department, Hafiz Muhammad Bilal and Usman Shafique, Bushra Sattar, Momina Khan of Computer Sciences Department, Kaynat Zia of BS ETM, Bushra, Masab Toosy, Bilal Ahmed Malik, Hiba Zahra, Saad Iltaf, Hira Eijaz, Syeda Sara Haider of Earth and Environmental Sciences Department, Haris Mumtaz, Muhammad Owais of Software Engineering Department received gold medals on the occasion.

Addressing on the occasion, Naval Chief Admiral Mohammad Asif Sandila NI(M) congratulated students and their parents on their splendid success. He said "It is a matter of great satisfaction and encouragement for all of us that university is effectively contributing in building up human resource of the country." The naval chief also shed light on the important role of faculty of the university which has to be conscious of the fact that they are preparing young people who are required to steer the nation out of the present crises which is multi-faceted and complex.

The pro-chancellor congratulated Rector Vice Admiral (r) Shahid Iqbal HI(M) and assured fullest cooperation and support for the development of the university. He said that the accelerated pace of development which the university management has embarked upon would soon make Bahria University one of the leading universities.

Earlier in his welcome address, Vice Admiral (r) Shahid Iqbal HI(M) expressed his gratitude to the Bahria University pro-chancellor and chief of the naval staff for his presence in the convocation. He said that higher education is now considered and accepted as tool of economic growth the world over. The universities have great responsibility of producing quality graduates who could contribute positively in various fields for economic growth of the country.

The rector congratulated students and their parents, and wished them a prosperous future.

He also admired students honoured with gold medals and silver medals for their dedication and outstanding achievements in their academic career at the convocation. The rector briefly gave an overview about academic infrastructure, faculty development, revision of curriculum and introduction of additional academic discipline in sync with market trends. He also talked about the establishment of a new campus in Lahore and a girls hostel on Islamabad campus. Bahria University has established linkages with 25 foreign universities and recently organised a two-day international conference on 'Emerging Challenges for Organisations in Developing Economies' in which seven international and nine national scholars enlightened academicians, researchers and students on the subject, he added. He also mentioned about student merit and need-based scholarship and its amount which has been increased to Rs25 million. This will provide an opportunity to students coming from low-income background to pursue education at Bahria University, which offers enabling learning environment to its students. The news

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2nd SCME convocation at NUST
Islamabad: A total of 72 graduates received degrees in the disciplines of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the second undergraduate convocation of the School of Chemical and Materials Engineering (SCME), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST).

The convocation was held at the main campus of the university here on Saturday.

The President's Gold Medals were awarded to Chemical Engineer Anum Shafique and Materials Engineer Tooba Shoaib. Whereas, the Rector's Gold Medals for the best projects were awarded to Chemical Engineer Khan Ume Salma Danish and Materials Engineer Tooba Shoaib.

Karam Green Energy CEO Engineer Sohail Wajahat Siddeequi extended his felicitations to the graduating students, their parents and the esteemed faculty. He said, "The knowledge that the students gain at the university serves as the backbone of our industry and economy."

He advised the students to increase their knowledge and professional expertise and give the society their best. He said he could see prospective industrialists in them, and hoped that they would take on professional challenges and transform them into golden opportunities. He stressed the need for developing academia-industry linkages and commended the NUST's role in this area. He was all praise for the fast-paced growth of the SCME, terming the school a glorious addition to the NUST.

NUST Rector Engineer Muhammad Asghar said it was indeed a matter of great pride for the NUST to be able to produce its second batch of SCME graduates. He apprised the audience that the school was undergoing evolutionary growth and was offering undergraduate, MS and PhD programmes.

Earlier, SCME Principal Dr Mujahid welcomed the gathering. He said, "I hope you have not cultivated the illusion; after acquiring engineering degrees, you have completed the learning process."

He urged them to capitalise on the acquired knowledge and utilise their energies in exploring new knowledge through research.

Sohail Wajahat Siddeequi was the chief guest at the ceremony. Besides parents, faculty and students, a large number of guests were present on the occasion. Daily times

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