University Grants Commission (UGC) was replaced by Higher Education Commission (HEC) in 2002, with a motto of reformative restructuring of university infrastructure leading to rapid progress in science and technology. HEC was an independent centralized monitoring body whose entire function was to encourage and boost research activities at government funded research centers or universities and providing financial support to promising students and faculty members. In addition, the commission was wholly responsible for quality control and quality assurance of education in both public and private universities across the country. In this regard, HEC had a black and white criteria for the universities regarding students’ enrolments in Master and PHD programs, appointment of faculty members and their promotion mechanism. HEC performance was up to the mark and it had been working efficiently until 2008, when it was given a task of degree attestation of government officials and parliamentarians; the majority of them were found with fake degrees. Unfortunately, many legislators had been enjoying all the perks and benefits from the government with their forged and fake qualifications. After the 18th constitutional amendment, these political buffoons – whose prime endeavors on the floor of parliament have always been to protect their personal interests rather than public ones-decided to smash this independent working commission out of personal vendetta. The plight of higher education commission started from the foundation of provincial units as a result of the 18th constitutional amendment. Democratic governments of both PPP and PML(N) cut HEC budget by more than 50 percent that impacted several fellowships and scholarships programs for the students enrolled in national and international universities. Degree attestation process was also made less stringent followed by the HEC dichotomy. PML-N is notorious for manipulating sectionalism in the country for cheap publicity, whether they are Danish schools in Education department or Model Police Stations in the name of so-called Police reforms, PML-N has led a double life. By the same token, it did not spare HEC for building a parallel Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) in February 2013, and maintained its policy of institutional dichotomy and corresponding political infills. The reason why Sindh Assembly pursued the need to make a separate provincial unit of HEC was seemingly due to the majority of politicians and government officials whose degrees were fake were directly or indirectly linked with PPP. Thus, they egregiously penalized HEC, and thus the Sindh Higher Education Commission (SHEC) was established by the outgoing PPP government in 2013 in a rush. The first chairperson of the provincial unit Dr. Asim was appointed purely on political grounds, and who later remained behind bar for corruption charges in the following years. Surprisingly to date, only two provinces – Punjab and Sindh – have their provincial units of HEC as opposed to other two provinces-KP and Balochistan-still working under the federally controlled HEC Islamabad. Such polarization has potentially blemished the working efficiency, repute, and credibility of HEC units divided into provincial and central units By now, two parallel units of HEC are practically functioning with reportedly not an organized system of mutual cohesion, coordination, or synchronization. Of these two units, many issues pertaining to jurisdiction remain unresolved due to the administrative tug-of-war. Surprisingly to date, only two provinces – Punjab and Sindh – have their provincial units of HEC as opposed to other two provinces-KP and Balochistan-still working under the federally controlled HEC Islamabad. Such polarization has potentially blemished the working efficiency, repute, and credibility of HEC units divided into provincial and central units. Worldwide ranking of the universities is based on many parameters including research progress, faculty development, students’ enrolment, and contribution towards the social and monetary growth. Sadly speaking – based on my personal observation – research in many public and private Pakistani universities is nothing more than a source of grabbing funds from HEC and sister organizations. In western countries, there is an effective partnership between universities and private industries who mutually promote each other that in turns economic growth and social development. Conversely in Pakistan, prevalent research in many areas -social and physical sciences-is farther from achieving success in sustainable solutions to challenges the country is facing in terms of economic growth and technological advances. HEC dichotomy has worsened the problems for the universities whose administration is confused about what to follow and what to overlook from procedural guidelines approved by two parallel commissions simultaneously with different codes of conduct. As a result, many universities have abolished NTS screening process for students’ enrollments in their institutes. The issue of Punjab and Sindh Higher Education Commissions a sparked debate as the provincial bodies have claimed a share in scholarships and funds from the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in the center. Question arises why our research is not worth-mentioning internationally and why we have failed to meet the international standard of research? To me, there are a few reasons, for instance, ethical guidelines are rarely followed during research work and its publications. There are no facilities in the laboratories for the work assigned to students and what they do-mostly likely-report fictitious and cooked data in their findings. Similarly, the blind race for publication among researchers is so fast that they do not value the quality of work. Instead, their focus is to increase the number of publications for which they even do not bother to see if the publisher-whom they send their contribution to – has any international repute or is a mere scam. Students deem to gain research-based degrees and faculty members-by the same reason-yearn for quick promotion to the next higher rank circumventing the true spirit of scientific work for its implementation in real life. Another challenge is transparent selection of faculty members by the selection boards at universities. Over the few years, it has been a common practice of universities to advertise open positions and cancel them after receiving a significantly higher processing fee from the already unemployed applicants. Government is required to bound universities for either full refund of application processing fees or to hold selection process of the candidates. Maliciously, new appointments are made against HEC established criteria for selection on merit. Even the VCs and faculty deans at universities are reported to be appointed based on recommendation, cosmetic value, and political influence. In this context, recently the chief justice of Pakistan cancelled the appointment of vice chancellor of Punjab university while a few other officials were handcuffed by NAB publically for corruption charges. Appointment of fresh PHDs is extensively hampered by consistent extension of retired professors. Broadly speaking, unless administrative officials and faculty of universities is selected purely on a merit based on leadership, management, and their specialization in respective areas, we cannot compete with the world in science and technology. Similarly, the HEC is essentially required to be centralized with its previous independent status with better planning and executional capacity to meet the challenges of economic growth and social infrastructure. The writer is a research scholar at the University of Alberta, Canada. He tweets @Dr_Mark12 and can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, December 28th 2018.