Federal Government Removes Tariq Banuri as HEC Chairperson

On Saturday, the Federal Government of Pakistan announced that it was removing Dr. Tariq Banuri as the head of the Higher Education Commission (HEC). The decision immediately took effect after the announcement. 

The Cabinet Secretariat issued a notification, which outlined that according to sub-section (5), when read with sub-section (5A), of Section 6 of the Higher Education Commission Ordinance of 2002, Dr. Tarqi Banuri is no longer the Chairperson of the HEC. The ordinance was amended as the Higher Education Commission (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, which effectively removed Banuri from his position. 

Back in May of 2018, Banuri had been appointed as the head by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the former Prime Minister. His tenure was supposed to end in May of 2022. 

As outlined in the presidential ordinance, the tenure of the Chairperson of the HEC will now only be for a time period of two years. 

Reports have suggested that the employment of 15 consultants, on substantial salaries, is one of the main reasons for the dismissal of Banuri. It is believed that the appropriate rules were not followed when it came to the appointment of these consultants. 

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in Pakistan also observed the appointments of these consultants. Thus, they asked for clarification from the HEC itself. 

It is also said that Banuri used to avoid meetings held with vice-chancellors. He also did not listen to any of the grievances of public universities. 

Despite the fact that stakeholders had strong reservations regarding the Ph.D. and associate degree program, Banuri had been quite inflexible on the matter. He also refused to meet with any vice-chancellor and talk about any issue, regardless of which province they belonged to. 

Ever since Burani was dismissed, no other person has been assigned the responsibility of being the Chairperson of the HEC.

The former Chairperson is a Ph.D. in Economics, graduated from Harvard University. He also holds an M.A in Development Economics, which he received from Williams College. He is a well-known writer and has written around 20 books, as well as 30 research papers. 

Banuri has had an unblemished academic career and he possesses a deep understanding of research. He was the first of the handful who were suggested to the Prime Minister for the position of the Chairperson of HEC, back in 2018. Consequently, he was appointed by Khaqan Abbasi for his outstanding credentials. 

Where his professional life is concerned, Banuri began his career working as a civil servant in the country. Later on, he left for the US because he wanted to study for a Ph.D. at Harvard University. He has also served in the development and social sector in countries other than Pakistan. 

However, the former Chairperson of HEC is also known for having important connections at the local and international level, both. Moreover, he has ties with non-government institutions as well, which are useful when it comes to collaborations, scholarships, as well as the internationalization of the education sector in the country.