Universities Now Required to Obtain Foreign Office Approval Prior to Engaging in International Ventures

As per the notification, universities must seek approval from the Foreign Office (FO) prior to establishing collaborations with international entities, including the UN and its affiliated organizations.

Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, the Chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), announced this decision through an official letter, emphasizing the necessity for official approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (FO) before engaging in partnerships with entities like the United Nations (UN). This move came in response to concerns expressed by the FO to the Higher Education Commission regarding universities initiating potentially sensitive international collaborations without prior consultation.

Recent observations have highlighted those certain educational institutions may inadvertently misrepresent Pakistan’s position on specific issues when entering into partnerships with international organizations without the guidance of the FO.
In order to mitigate such concerns, the HEC’s letter stressed that universities should channel all international collaborations, particularly those with political significance, through the relevant government departments, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs taking a leading role in the process.

The notification was met with criticism from academics all across the country. Professor Ijaza Khan of Peshawar University posted on @X that HEC has no legal authority to do so.

Another professor from FCU said that HEC should stop embarrassing himself

HEC has still to respond to these comments and clear its position with regard to the questions that have been raised.

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