A subcommittee of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was surprised to learn that some 106 research projects at various universities were still incomplete after over a decade despite funding by the Higher Education Commission (HEC).
The committee was also informed that the HEC sent several scholars abroad on scholarships to pursue higher studies, but 132 of them did not return to Pakistan.
The committee’s convener, Alam Khan, directed the HEC to submit the records of these incomplete research projects with the audit officials.
He also expressed anger at the absence of HEC Chairman Tariq Banuri in the subcommittee meeting. He asked HEC Executive Director Lt Gen (retd) Muhammad Asghar about the chairman, who said Banuri was in his office.
Later, the HEC chairman showed up. Khan asked him to send an official letter in advance if he had any reason for absence from PAC meetings.
The committee reviewed the audit paras of HEC. As per the audit report, the HEC issued funds to different universities for research projects. However, of 583 projects, 106 were still incomplete after 14 years, audit findings pointed out.
Besides this, the audit officials apprised the committee that the commission sent various scholars abroad on scholarships for higher studies, including PhD, but 132 of them did not return to Pakistan.
They added that even the cost of training was not recovered from these scholars by the HEC. At this, the executive director said that a case in this regard was already in the court, adding that they have made some recoveries. He asserted that audit officials dismissed the related para from the report.
The convener stated that the scholarships should only be awarded to the deserving students and not to the well-connected and rich people.