Dr Rehman assailed for wasting billions on higher education
14 October, 2008
ISLAMABAD: Former minister Ishaq Khan Khakwani on Monday blasted the outgoing chairman Higher Education Commission, Dr Attaur Rehman, for what he termed the massive misuse of billions of rupees during his eight years in office.
A fiery Khakwani demanded a special audit of the HEC accounts. He wondered where those billions were spent, which were given to Dr Rehman by General Pervez Musharraf for the uplift of higher education.
“One may rightly expect from someone like Dr Rehman, who was in office for eight consecutive years, to turn around the whole system of higher education, particularly when the government was pumping billions into the accounts of the HEC. But after spending Rs 26 billion, he could not even set up a single foreign university”, he regretted.
Sharply reacting against the praises for the outgoing HEC chairman, Ishaq Khan told our sources that he was amazed to see that no one was questioning Dr Rehman about those six foreign universities, which he had planned to set up in Pakistan.
Mr Khakwani alleged that those billions which could have changed the whole education system were spent by Rehman on foreign trips, TA/DA and holding of seminars in five-star hotels.
He said the Dr Rehman‚Äôs influence during the previous government could be judged from the fact that the whole education ministry got only Rs 6 billions in budget for the whole country but the HEC alone got more than Rs 26 billions. He said that the huge amount was given to Dr Rehman to improve the educational standards for only 3 per cent students.
Khakwani alleged that more than Rs 200 million might have been spent alone on TA/DA of only few top guns of the HEC.
He recalled that during one of the federal cabinet meetings, he had critically evaluated the claims of the HEC and the whole cabinet had clapped after he had finished his arguments. Khakwani said he had told Dr Rehman in a cabinet meeting that instead of setting up six foreign universities he should have established only one. But he regretted that even today when Dr Rehman is going home nobody was asking him about those six foreign universities.
He demanded of the auditor general of Pakistan to conduct an audit of the HEC accounts so the people should know where those billions were spent.
On the other hand, Dr Attaur Rehman defended his position while talking to our sources. “We often differed in opinions on the issues concerning the HEC”, Dr Rehman said, adding he did not want to discus those differences with the media at this stage.
Dr Rehman said the HEC accounts had always been audited and rejected the charges of financial irregularities against him. About the six foreign universities, he said projects of setting up four such universities were approved hardly four months back. ‚ÄúChina, Italy, Austria and Germany are ready to set up universities here,‚Äů he said, admitting that no foreign university was operating in the country presently.
When asked why the Americans and British universities did not set up their camps here, he said they were not ready to establish universities in Pakistan.
On his performance as the chairman HEC, he said one should note how much the international institutions had appreciated the uplift of the higher educational during his eight years in office.