PESHAWAR: Following an inquiry conducted by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) into the alleged paper leak, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Friday cancelled the results of the entrance test arranged by the Educational Testing and Evaluation Agency (ETEA) on August 19 for admissions to public and private medical and dental colleges and announced to reorganise it soon.
Chief Minister Mahmood Khan cancelled the entrance test results after receiving the report from the IB.
Special Secretary Higher Education Department (HED) Manzoor Ahmad told The News the new date for the test would be announced shortly.
“There are two basic priorities for us. The first one is to ensure arranging the entrance test as soon as possible and save precious time of the students and the second is to reach the culprits involved in this act,” said the official.
The IB conducted the preliminary investigation and reportedly identified some loopholes in the system.
According to the sources, IB recommended the government to form another inquiry committee and investigate the scam in depth to reach the culprits involved in the paper leak.
The sources said the IB had held some people, including those who uploaded pictures of the paper of the entrance test on the social media for investigation and registered a case against unknown people.
And it was after the IB identified some mismanagement allegedly on the part of the ETEA, the government decided to cancel the test results to restore the trust of the people in the system and trace those damaged ETEA’s reputation.
Manzoor Ahmad said the government had decided to form a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to thoroughly investigate the scam.
He said the KP Home secretary had notified a JIT comprising Special Branch of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police, IB and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
The official said he had called a meeting of the committee, including vice-chancellors of Khyber Medical University (KMU) and University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Peshawar on Saturday to decide a new date for the test.
He said he wanted to organise the test in a week but the ETEA expressed its inability to prepare the paper and sought some time for it. The official said those involved in the scandal would not be spared.
Manzoor Ahmad said the provincial government wanted a fair and free probe into the issue and, therefore, he didn’t include any official from the government and Education Department in the inquiry committee.
The government and the security agency didn’t make public details of the inquiry.
However, some insiders told The News that they suspected that some people had managed to leak the paper last time when the entrance test was cancelled due to rain and papers were called back to Peshawar.
“It is too early to blame someone for it but it is largely being suspected that some of the people in ETEA stole the paper last time when they were taking them back to Peshawar from different centres in the province,” a senior government official told The News on condition of anonymity.
They suspected that the papers were stolen from remote centres like Dera Ismail Khan, Haripur, Swat or Malakand.
“All the boxes carrying the papers are sealed. The sealed are opened in the presence of representatives of KMU, UET and HED. But everything is possible. Those who can break the seal,
can seal it again,” said the government official.
It is worth mentioning that Chief Minister Mahmood Khan took notice of allegations about the paper leak and ordered the cybercrime branch of the IB to hold an inquiry into the matter.
The government had withheld results of the entrance test until the inquiry committee submitted its report within three days.
The test was simultaneously held at seven different centres, including Islamia Collegiate School ground Peshawar, Haripur University Haripur, Grassy Ground Saidu Sharif in Swat, Gomal Medical College in Dera Ismail Khan, Abdul Wali Khan University, Garden Campus Mardan, Cadet College Kohat and Malakand University in Chakdara, Lower Dir.
Soon after the entrance test was held, some people alleged that the paper had been leaked before the test.
Some of them posted pictures of the paper on the social media and alleged that people paid a handsome amount for getting it.
According to KMU, 38,062 candidates, including 14,602 girls, appeared in the test this year.
The ETEA was supposed to announce the results of the test within 24 hours, but the chief minister stopped it till the inquiry was conducted.
The students taking the test were not allowed to have cellphones but still, some of them were found having them.
The staff on duty confiscated their phones and the students were handed over to the police.
It was alleged that the paper was leaked on August 12 and some claimed it was made available to resourceful people on August 17.