Says he does not feel threatened
By Ansar Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: The Chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Prof Javed Leghari, has resolved to perform his duty of degrees verification of parliamentarians without any fear or favour and says he does not feel threatened as he has full faith in God.
The highly qualified professor, who resigned on July 21, 2009 from the Senate under mysterious circumstances, was given the Senate seat by the late Benazir Bhutto in 2006 and was appointed the head of Szabist (Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology), the well-reputed educational institution of international standards.
At the time of his resignation from the Senate, PPP leader Dr Safdar Abbasi, while paying tributes to Prof Leghari, had felt something fishy in his resignation. “I do not want to go into speculations behind the resignation of Javed Leghari,” Abbasi had said at that time recalling that PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto had herself brought Javed Leghari to the Upper House.
There were strong speculations that President Asif Ali Zardari did not like him and it was proved when he gave the post of Szabist to his sister Faryal Talpur while his Senate seat was given to Shaukat Tareen first and to Hafiz Sheikh recently, both joining the top post in the Finance Ministry.
Prof Javaid Leghari is an academic, an aerospace scientist and an electrical engineer, and has been the Director of Graduate Studies and tenured professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the State University of New York in Buffalo. He specialises in Energy and Power, Higher Education, Information Technology, Space Power Technology and Leadership, and has published over 120 research papers in refereed journals and presented over 70 papers at international conferences. He also sponsored research for the Nasa, the USAF and the US Navy.
“I have fear of Almighty Allah alone and none else,” Leghari told The News here on Tuesday within hours after his brother, who despite being a senior government servant, was picked up on Monday from Hyderabad in a cloak and dagger style and remained missing, but was later produced in a court by the anti-corruption authorities.
Leghari said he had talked to the Sindh Anti-corruption Department chairman, who told him that the department had no case against his brother, who was handed over to them on Tuesday morning. Javed Leghari’s younger brother was picked up on Monday apparently to pressurise the HEC chairman to stop the verification of parliamentarians’ degrees.
Leghari, while quoting media reports, said the Sindh chief secretary also expressed his ignorance about the arrest of his brother, arguing that under the law, a gazetted officer could only be arrested on corruption charges only after the approval of a committee headed by the provincial chief secretary.
He said his brother was picked up on Monday when nobody, including the Sindh Anti-Corruption Department, confirmed the arrest of Farooq Leghari. Interestingly, Farooq Leghari has been charged of corruption in the Revenue Department during his stint as the Tando Muhammad Khan District Coordination Officer (DCO), the position he left some two years back.
Javed Leghari told The News on Monday that only a week back, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah had assured him that his brother would be soon appointed as the director general of the Hyderabad Development Authority.
When asked if he feels threatened after the maltreatment of his brother, Leghari said in a categorical and confident tone: “I don’t feel threatened, so I go around freely.” He said because of his complete faith in God, he could not be browbeaten by anyone and was therefore determined to honestly and sincerely perform his functions as the chairman of the HEC.
Javed Leghari said the process of verification of the parliamentarians’ degrees is in full swing and even on Tuesday he remained busy holding meetings with his officials to review the situation. He said the deadline of July 13 was given to all the universities concerned to verify the degrees sent to them, but not all universities had responded as yet. So the process may take some more time.
About the verification of the post-graduation and doctorate degrees of parliamentarians, he said the HEC was not in a position to take such a decision but was bound to verify whatever was sent to the commission by the Election Commission of Pakistan.
The ECP was recently directed by the apex court through a court judgment that all documents/degrees of parliamentarians should be referred to the HEC for verification and the cases of those parliamentarians who were found to have fake degrees should be referred to the district and sessions judges concerned for trial under the offence carrying three-year imprisonment.