Dr Banuri was removed from office unceremoniously by the PTI government through an amendment to the HEC ordinance
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (HEC) Tuesday restored Dr Tariq Javed Banuri as chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC).
In a short order, authored by Justice Aamer Farooq, the IHC stated that the notifications, dated 26/03/2021 and 05/04/2021, were issued without lawful authority and contrary to the amended provisions of the HEC Ordinance, 2002.
"Respondent No. 6 Dr Tariq Javed Banuri, therefore, stands restored as the Chairman of the Higher Education Commission," the order said.
In March 2021, Dr Banuri was removed from office unceremoniously by the PTI government when his tenure was shortened from four to three years through an amendment to the HEC ordinance. Later, he approached the IHC against his premature removal.
The IHC had barred the government from appointing a new chairman till the case is decided.
Dr Banuri was appointed in May 2018 by former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for a four-year term and his tenure was due to end in May 2022.
There were reportedly widespread complaints against him, accusing him of running the HEC on an ad hoc basis. Meanwhile, the National Accountability Bureau had launched an investigation against him for corruption, irregularities, mismanagement and appointment of consultants.
The federal government’s decision to sack Dr Banuri was criticised by experts and educationists who termed the move as damaging.
Dr Adil Najam, Dean, Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University, had slammed the authorities on his removal and said Dr Banuri is being "bullied out by pygmies" for trying to mend a broken system.
“What a travesty!!! Its not just that Dr Tariq Banuri is being bullied out by pygmies for trying to mend a broken system.”
He said that the ordinance will "further wreck an already shattered system".
“Petty personal interests and a vile malicious campaign proves again that the greatest enemy of system reform is the system itself,” he added.
Renowned public policy expert, Mosharraf Zaidi had also lashed out at the federal government on the decision.
“This government has devoured many competent people and spit them out—but none were so qualified or so effective as was Dr Tariq Banuri,” he tweeted.
“Gutted for Pakistan and HEC.”