After several weeks of speculations, rumour mongering and suggestions, the prime minister of Pakistan has finally appointed the chairman of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, with the coveted post falling in the lap of Dr Tariq Banuri for the next four years.

About two weeks ago, the search committee formed for suggesting suitable candidates for taking charge of HEC had forwarded four names to the prime minister for a final decision after several meetings that purportedly led to serious differences and disagreements among the committee members.

The six-member committee had former minister Dr Sania Nishtar, former parliamentarian Shahnaz Wazir Ali, educationist Faisal Bari, Mirza Qamar Baig and the secretary of the education ministry, as members and educationist and philanthropist Syed Babar Ali was the convener. Among various issues that the committee members disagreed over was whether to include worthy applicants that were facing various departmental and external inquiries on charges of corruption in the process of selection. Some members wanted to exclude such candidates right away, but others were against the move. The committee had reportedly shortlisted seven names for forwarding to the PM, however, it dropped three names after the National Accountability Bureau did not give a final clearance to those candidates.

The final candidates nominated by the committee were Dr Tariq Banuri, Dr Muhammad Mukhtar, Dr Iqbal Chaudhry and Dr Anwarul Hassan Gilani, with many suggesting Banuri to be the top candidate.

A Bag Full Of Credentials

And so he was; and his appointment is likely to be welcomed by many more than it will be criticised by.

Dr Banuri is a noted name in the development and public sector around the world and a leading advocate for sustainable development policy. Dr Banuri started off his career with the Civil Services of Pakistan, but went on to earn a PhD in economics from Harvard University and joined UN a research fellow at World Institute for Development Economics Research (WIDER). Based on his experiences, Dr Banuri set up and is the founding executive director of Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) Pakistan.

Prior to his stint at the UN, Banuri also remained associated with Future Sustainability Programme at Stockholm Environment Institute as a senior fellow and director. He was also the Coordinating Lead Author on the Nobel Prize-winning Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and has also served as member of the board of governors of State Bank of Pakistan.

The HEC chairman-designate has also been the chair of International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) board of governors and was also a founding member of the Great Transition Initiative (GTI)

He has authored several books, including “Economic Liberalization: No Panacea : the Experiences of Latin America and Asia”, “Who Will Save The Forests” and “The Great Transition”.


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