One Year On: Nearly 170 Illegal Universities Still Operating in Pakistan

It has been about 19 months since ProPakistani last touched the subject of fake universities in Pakistan.

We reported that 184 fake, illegal or unrecognized universities were operating in the country without the Higher Education Commission’s (HEC) approval. Back then, HEC officials stated that they are trying to curb this menace; a few voices were raised and a parliamentary panel showed concern over the matter.

Today, after the passage of 19 months, not much progress has been made and we are facing the exact same problem. HEC has repeatedly claimed that it has improved regulation of the education sector and that the number of fake universities in operation has decreased drastically.

However, as suggested by news reports last year, the governing body needs to do much more in curbing this menace and show results. Punitive measures against fake universities are called for and an effective mechanism for ensuring that this practice does not continue is needed as well.

Some universities have affiliations with public or private sector universities but lack the mandatory NOC from the HEC, which is illegal.

Every year we hear about thousands of students protesting against HEC and their universities because the degrees offered by these institutes are unrecognized, with fake universities fooling students and their parents into churning out huge sums of money as tuition fees.

These universities hide the fact that they are yet to get clearance from HEC or, sometimes, even procure a forged HEC approval. But all of these protests fall on deaf ears as neither the government nor the commission takes notices of the students’ pleas.

As of now, HEC is aware of 168 fake, illegal or unrecognized universities, 16 less than what we reported a year and a half ago. The number is more or less the same, evidently suggesting that the HEC is neither interested nor will be in the future to fix the issue.

Most of the fake institutes include words like “International”, “American”, “London”, “Western” etc. in their names to mislead the public but they have no relation to any international institute

As reported earlier, some of these universities have affiliation with public or private sector universities but do not have the proper NOC from HEC. All universities are required to obtain the NOC before commencing educational operations.

Majority of the universities fraudulently mention “International”, “Western”, “London”, “US” or any other international place and sometimes even claim of affiliation with international institutes; all to scam students into spending money on low quality education and an unrecognized degree.

Number of unrecognized universities in 2013 was just 24, and has now grown to 168, showing that HEC has made no effort to stop this menace and that education is the least of concerns for this government

The most annoying part of this whole story is that the HEC, the parliamentary committee and the rest of the government is completely aware of the whole situation yet they completely ignore this matter as if there was some factor preventing them from taking action against the universities. These universities are making billions each year, ripping off the public, and is not something to be taken lightly.

Hundreds of thousands of students’ lives and careers are at risk because of the uncontrolled fake institutes. If nothing is done, it could be disastrous for the future of the country’s youth and its workforce potential. If Pakistan gets international investments or development projects, it would be of no use if our workforce is unqualified.

There are several other repercussions and consequences of ignoring this issue. At the very least we could share this news with all our friends and inform them to check with the HEC website to see which universities and colleges are legit an which ones are working without approval.

Here is the list of unrecognized/fake universities: Unrecognised Universities (HEC)

He is the Chief Content Officer at ProPakistani. Reach out at aadil.s[at]

  • A day before it was on this blog that Punjab Food Authority has issued a list of some well known companies which are supplying substandard cooking oil in country. Now i read above news that sad me again. Pakistanis are given substandard cooking oil as well as substandard education. BTW what is doing the government and where are those departments which have been made to monitor to such fake companies. No one from bottom to top is working for the country. At last what is happening in Pakistan…??

    • Dr Mukhtar who is now chairman of HEC has and had affiliation with Dr. Naqwi (previous Exec. Director) who has shares in CASE and CARE in Islamabad along with other ex professors of Nast and EME (they even worked as government employees while doing this business). Any student who lodged complaint to HEC for corrupt practices of these people their names were leaked to CASE and CARE by Dr. Naqwi and Dr. Mukhtar. Do you thing they are going to do anything.

    • There is nothing sub standard in Pakistan, and if someone got caught it well and trying to shut down like what happens to oil manufacturers in Pakistan they will start black mailing to the government and finally govenment need to take action back.

      This is what happen always with every department, transportation, food, milk, etc.

      Pakistan has no clear and strict law against these kind of people, how someone can shut down any of this kind of business and they can open it after few days very easily.

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