ISLAMABAD - A division bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday restored Dr Tariq Banuri as the chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC). 

The dual bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice of IHC Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Aamer Farooq announced its short order in a petition filed by fifteen eminent scholars and educationists against the Higher Education Commission (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 and Higher Education Commission (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 and the removal of Tariq Banuri as the Chairman of the commission. 

The bench noted in its order, “For reasons to be recorded later the petition in hand is allowed. Consequently, the impugned notifications, dated 26.03.2021 and 05.04.2021, are declared to have been issued without lawful authority and contrary to amended provisions of the Higher Education Commission Ordinance, 2002.” 

“Respondent No. 6, Dr. Tariq Javed Banuri, therefore, stands restored as the Chairman of the Higher Education Commission,” added the court. 

The petitioners including Mosharraf Ali Zaidi, Prof Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, Prof Dr M Asif Khan, Syed Ahmed Masood, Prof Dr A H Nayyar, Prof Dr Naazish Attaullah, Prof Ms Salima Hashm and others moved the court through Faisal Siddiqui Advocate. 

They stated in the petition that to the shock and horror of the petitioners, the Respondent No.3 (Federal Ministry of Education and Professional Training) clearly acting in a malafide manner on the dictates of the present federal government suggested amendments in the Ordinance, 2002, on the ridiculous pretext that “in [the] post Covid era, the paradigm of Higher Education System and its delivery mode has undergone tremendous changes,” and furthermore that the process and criteria of tenured appointments need to be reviewed in order to “keep pace with the changing eco-system of 21st century skills.” 

The counsel for the petitioners prayed to the court to permanently restrain the respondents from again removing Dr Tariq Banuri from his post as Chairperson of the HEC during his tenure of four years ending on 29-5-2022 (plus the entire time period during which he was illegally removed) and also permanently restrain the respondents from appointing any other person as Chairperson of the HEC during the tenure of Banuri ending on 29-5-2022 (plus the entire time period during which he was illegally removed) 

Banuri was appointed at the post by former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in May 2018 and he was to complete his tenure in May 2022.