Where is Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani?

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While the Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Education Secretary Dr Fazlullah Pechuho had their horns locked over the issue of reopening educational institutes, the newly-appointed Education Minister Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani left the country a few days ago without assuming charge of office.

Bijarani, a close friend of former education minister and newly-appointed information and irrigation minister Nisar Khuhro, was not happy over his new appointment, sources said.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leadership changed the portfolios of some of its minister on July 22, a day after a party meeting in Dubai; Bijarani was appointed as the new education minister of Sindh during this meeting.

Sources privy to the development told Pakistan Today that Bijarani consulted with Khuhro before deciding not to assume charge of his new office while Dr Fazlulah Pechuho was around.

Bijarani was said to have been supportive of Khuhro during his time as the education minister, and was running a campaign to remove Pechuho because of his “undue influence” in the department. However, Sindh senior minister and ex-Sindh Assembly speaker, Khuhro, did not remove Pechuho from office during his two-year tenure.

It was said that Khuhro and Bijarani gathered the support of some provincial law-makers in the past to pressurise the party leadership for the removal of Pechuho from the Education Department.

Sources said that Bijarani, who has been elected as both an MNA and an MPA several times, and served PPP in his governments in the centre and province, has approached the party leadership after his appointment and left the country to get his portfolio changed.

Sindh Information Minister Nisar Khuhro, when contacted, said that he has no idea that whether Bijarani will assume charge of his office or not. When he was asked about a cold war with Pechuho in his tenure as an education minister, he said that he would not comment on this issue.

Dr Fazlulah Pechuho was not available for comments.

EDUCATION DEPARTMENT SUFFERS:

The confrontation between the minister and the secretary has resulted in funds of worth billion of rupees in the Education Department either being wasted or being misused.

A list of 34 officers of the department involved in financial corruption has already been forwarded to NAB by the education department this month. NAB has also been informed about 10,000 fake appointments in the Education Department during the tenure of Pir Mazharul Haq.

Talking to this scribe, Government Secondary Teachers Association (GSTA) chief Ashraf Khaskheli said that when Khuhro assumed charge of the education department, he disclosed that there are 3,000 closed schools in the province, but the number of closed schools reached at 4,700 because of the confrontation between the minister and the secretary.

He further told that there are 600 secondary schools in the province, which are running without head masters, but no one was promoted to BPS-17 because of this cold war. When he was asked about his expectation after appointment of new education minister, he said that it is up to Dr Fazlullah Pechuho whether he would allow him to get any work done or not.

BUT WHAT OF THE SCHOOLS?

Earlier, the administrations of public and privately-run education institutes in the province were in a fix on whether they should reopen schools on August 3 or not because the Sindh CM has turned down the summary of secretary education regarding the same.

The Sindh CM representative issued a statement during late on Saturday night and announced that all the educational institutes in the province would reopen after summer vacation on August 11. Earlier, the education secretary gave a go-ahead to private educational institute to reopen schools on August 3.