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Pakistaniaat No Longer Affiliated with HEC

Yesterday I received an email from Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, an organization that we supported on this forum last year when it was about to be axed, informing me that according to their “new criteria” Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies could not be considered an approved journal of HEC. I was also instructed to delete our assertion that our journal was approved in their “Y” category.

Needless to say I found this decision acutely autocratic: if their polices have changed , why were we not informed to comply with the policies? professional courtesy requires that things like this should not be sent to us sounding like an arbitrary decision.

I have looked for the new criteria on the HEC website, and all that I have been able to gather is that since our journal does not have an Impact Factor and as it is not listed with Thompson’s Index, we, somehow, are not worthy of inclusion into their database. That Pakistaniaat is now a leading peer-reviewed journal on Pakistan and that it is also a sponsored journal of American Institute of Pakistan Studies, and indexed by the MLA does not mean much to the people at HEC.

The reason we are not listed with Thompsons is because it costs a lot of money to register a journal with them and we neither have the resources nor the need to waste our money on corporations that specialize in deciding whether we are a worthy journal or not. I am really disappointed at the outlook of HEC, which seems too corporatized to me, and at the callous method of informing us about this unjust decision.

The reason I wanted Pakistaniaat to be listed with HEC was to encourage quality submissions from Pakistani scholars and to offer our editorial expertise to them in the process. It seems our this mission has been stymied. But we will continue on with or without HEC recognition.

Those of you still interested in publishing with us, please be assured that we are now an established and internationally recognized academic journal. It is, however, sad that a beaurocratic institution of the very country that our journal hopes to represent has failed to find value in our work. In any case, the loss is theirs.

With this decision, HEC has lost my support and in the future I will not waste any more of my time defending their causes. I am pretty sure that Pakistaniaat will keep growing with the help of our contributors and with the great work of our volunteer editorial team.

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In Support of Higher Education Comission, Pakistan

A few months ago while in Islamabad, I had the opportunity to meet several official so the Higher Education Commission (HEC). I must say I found each one of the individuals to be professional, courteous, and exceedingly competent in their respective jobs. This, for any Pakistani dealing with government institutions, was a rare experience. I  people I interacted with to be dedicated about their jobs and about the larger mission of the HEC.

As an academic based in the US, during the last decade I have experienced, first hand, the contributions made by the HEC in the field of higher education as the number of highly qualified and well prepared graduate students finishing their degrees in the US has increased dramatically. In the domestic sphere, HEC has been crucial in developing not only the institutional standards but also in promoting a culture of scholarship and research across the board. As an expatriate, anytime someone asks me a question about the higher education in Pakistan, I am always very confident to refer them to the HEC website as I know that they will be able to find help and guidance about their projects in Pakistan, no matter where the institution of their interest was located in Pakistan. HEC provides not only a central quality control for higher education but also a centralized institution with the domestic and global reach needed for an increasingly internationalized higher education.

It is extremely hard for the developing nations to build such wonderful institutions, especially in this era of IMF instituted structural requirements.  Pakistan has spent a lot of energy and resources in creating and sustaining this wonderfully useful institution.

In my humble opinion, to destroy this institution for the sake of political expediency is unacceptable and the dissolution of HEC will certainly harm the long-term interests and goals of Pakistani higher education.

I, therefore, strongly urge all those involved in higher education to vice their opinions against this dismantling of HEC. Please take a few moments to sign our petition, a collated version of which will be sent to the government of Pakistan:

Petition Link