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Event Title: Senator Irfan-Ul-Haque Siddiqui, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Federal Education & Professional Training Presiding over a Meeting of The Committee at Parliament House Islamabad

Event Date: 2023-08-03

Today, the Senate Standing Committee on Federal Education and Professional Training convened under the chairmanship of Senator Irfan Siddiqui at Parliament House.

The committee was briefed by the Vice-Chancellor of Islamia University Bahawalpur regarding concerning issues of drug sales, scandals, exploitation, and dissemination of obscene material involving students and teachers on campus. The Vice-Chancellor informed the committee about ongoing investigations by the Punjab Higher Education Department and a special inquiry committee established by the CM Punjab. Notably, three university officers are in police custody for their involvement in illegal contraband drug possession. The matter of harassment and obscene videos is still under investigation. In light of the gravity of these issues, Senator Siddiqui remarked that this has the potential to not only disrupt education but also affect the lives of female students. The committee decided to address the matter by writing a letter to the Chief Justice of Lahore High Court, urging the constitution of a judicial commission to conduct a thorough inquiry.

During the meeting, the committee reviewed "The Higher Education Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2023," presented by Federal Minister Rana Tanveer Hussain. Senator Mian Raza Rabbani who attended the meeting on a special invitation provided valuable historical context and proposed amendments to the bill, which were appreciated by Minister Hussain. Senator Mushtaq Ahmed also put forward amendments regarding the HEC's autonomy and the Chairman's term of office, advocating for a four-year tenure. Following extensive deliberations, the committee unanimously approved the Bill with the proposed amendments.

The committee deliberated on matters pertaining to the establishment of higher education institutions in Multan and Sialkot.The committee engaged in a comprehensive discussion on three private member bills aiming to establish higher education institutions in the mentioned cities. Senator Siddiqui emphasized the importance of adhering to the Higher Education Commission's prerequisites and documentation requirements before considering these bills. The committee deffered the consideration of two Bills, while one Bill for establishment of Lahore University of Management and Technology was dropped on the continued absence of the mover.

Addressing the broader concern of mass approval of university-related Bills by the National Assembly, Senator Siddiqui reassured the public that the Senate's education committee is committed to scrutinizing each bill meticulously, aligning with the criteria set forth by the HEC.

Additionally, the committee thoroughly discussed "The Federal Urdu University of Arts, Sciences and Technology, Islamabad (Amendment) Bill, 2023," which aims to enhance the university's efficiency by addressing existing gaps. Senator Rabbani's proposed amendments received unanimous approval. During the meeting, the Chairman HEC provided a detailed briefing on the issues faced by the university and informed the committee about the inquiry committee established by the President of Pakistan to investigate administrative issues and illegal appointments. The chair took note of the administrative shortcomings and decided to hold the committee meeting in Karachi to gain a comprehensive understanding of the challenges it faces.

Furthermore, the committee approved the private member bill titled "The Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (Amendment) Bill 2023," aimed at replacing wods "Federal Government" with "Appropriate Authority" for streamlined functioning and prompt decision-making.

The committee meeting was attended by Senators, including Prof. Dr. Mehr Taj Roghani, Fawzia Arshad, Jam Mahtab Hussain Dahar, Mushtaq Ahmed, Engr Rukhsana Zuberi, Rana Maqbool Ahmed, Molvi Faiz Muhammad, Ahmed Khan,

Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training, Rana Tanveer Hussain, Secretary Federal Education, Vice-Chancellor of Islamia University Bahawalpur, Chairman HEC, and senior officials from relevant Departments. While Prof. Sajid Mir, Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah, Mian Raza Rabbani, Palwasha Muhammadzai Khan, Waqar Mehdi attended the committee meeting as movers.The meeting was marked by constructive discussions and a commitment to enhance the education sector for the betterment of our nation.