The adviser who wants to be minister- Higher Education Department (HED) of Punjab

Published on January 15, 2013 at 10:22 am

The adviser who wants to be minister- Higher Education Department (HED) of Punjab

The adviser who wants to be minister- Higher Education Department (HED) of Punjabq

The adviser who wants to be minister- Higher Education Department (HED) of Punjab

LAHORE – The officials of the Higher Education Department (HED) are in a bind as there is pressure to comply with Chief Minister’s Advisor on Higher Education Zaeem Qadri’s demand to exercise ministerial powers, which is in violation Punjab government rules, Pakistan Today has learnt.

Sources revealed that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawmaker is pressing the HED officials to pass the summaries for the chief minister through him and has demanded to chair the meetings of the Board of Governors of higher education institutions.

They further said that after the “pressure” increased, the HED sent a summary to the cabinet wing of the Services and General Administration (SGAD), seeking their advice on what they termed a legal anomaly. The department sought advice on both matters. The cabinet wing further sought the Law Department’s advice on the matter. Both cabinet wing and the Law Department, in their replies, maintained that both these authorities are only with the minister according to the Rules of Business, while an adviser cannot enjoy them.

A senior official, on the condition of anonymity, told Pakistan Today that the bureaucracy is in a fix over Qadri’s increasing demand because the chief minister has kept the ministry of the HED with himself. “The Board of Governors have their own charter which says either the education minister or, in his absence, someone from amongst the members can chair the meeting. Qadri is only an adviser and these provisions are not meant for him, as per rules. Rules and regulations have been framed and which have to be followed even if someone doesn’t like it,” the official said. He added that the demanded procedure would result in a lot of delay in regular procedures as well.

Insiders further said that the Higher Education Department, School Education and Literacy and Non-Formal Basic Education constituted the Education Ministry given to MPA Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman. However, Qadri after assuming the role of the adviser on education demanded “complete” control over the affairs of these departments, also minding interference from Mujtaba. In order to appease him, the government then “de-notified” the Higher Education Department from the portfolio, making Qadri in charge of its affairs while Shahbaz Sharif kept the HED ministry with himself.

“The situation aggravated, culminating into a shouting match between the two lawmakers after which the chief minister took out HED from Mujtaba’s portfolio while kept the ministry with himself to avoid any further problems amongst the long queue of MPs wanting to get ministries,” a source privy to the development told Pakistan Today.

Another senior official, on the condition of anonymity, said the chief minister may grant him exercise of these powers “in relaxation of all rules”, as the available framework does not permit it.

Higher Education Department Secretary Dr Ijaz Munir and Chief Minister’s Advisor on Higher Education Zaeem Qadri were not available for comments despite repeated attempts.

However, Minister for School Education Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman said the Higher Education Department was ‘de-notified’ from his current portfolio and now lies with the chief minister himself.

“Under the rules, the authority vested in a minister cannot be enjoyed by an adviser or a special assistant,” he said, adding that there was no ill-will on his side at least because he had already gotten important portfolios including Finance and Excise and Taxation.

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