IHC issues notices to federal secretaries


The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday issued notices to the ministry of overseas Pakistanis secretary, establishment division secretary and others in a petition filed against alleged nepotism in the selection process of Community Welfare Attaches (CWAs) in Pakistanis missions abroad. A single-member bench comprising Justice Noor-ul-Haq Qureshi was hearing the petition filed by Privatization Commission Director Muhammad Bashir Khetran seeking cancellation of appointments for posts of CWAs, if made. According to the notification issued by the ministry of overseas Pakistanis, Punjab Governor’s son Sardar Balakh Sher Khosa was appointed as community welfare officer in the Pakistani High Commission, London.
The other appointees were: Moinuddin of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) appointed as community welfare attaché in Riyadh, project coordination unit DG, Peshawar, Mazharul Haq Kakakhel at Jeddah, Deputy Collector Haroon Waqar Malik at Kuwait, Income Tax Deputy Commissioner Fiza Batool at Malaysia; Inland Revenue Deputy Commissioner Amir Rehman at Tripoli; Punjab Small Industries Corporation Deputy Managing Director Maqsood Qadir Shah (brother of district and sessions judge Sialkot Mehboob Qadir Shah) at Bahrain; Mohammad Aslam Ghauri at Barcelona, National Bank`s officer Syed Tahseenul Haq at Jeddah and Syed Azhar Raza Hashmi from the private sector at Doha.
On April 14, 2011, the establishment division secretary circulated about selection of government officers for posting as CWAs and set the criteria for the said posts as BPS-17, 18 and 19 with three to five years experience in management/field or labour/manpower administration and laws or matters pertaining to emigration and welfare of Pakistanis living/working abroad. The minister for overseas Pakistanis was made chairman of the special selection board (SSB).
Citing the ministry of overseas Pakistanis secretary, minister for overseas Pakistanis, establishment division secretary and secretary to special selection board (SSB) as respondents, the petitioner, through his counsel Advocate GM Chaudhry, alleged that any minister being the part of cabinet and the parliament cannot chair a meeting for making recommendation for selection of an official appointment while the ministry of overseas selected all the 10 persons for the said posts just because of their political influence and ignored the eligible persons including the petitioner in the process.
The counsel told that the special selection board chairman had constituted a departmental selection committee (DSC) which interviewed candidates in the months of September and October last year.
He alleged that his client was aware of the fact that the ministry of overseas secretary even included the names of such persons in prospective selectees who had not appeared in interview before the DSC.
He pointed out further that there was also no provision for selection of private sector candidates as the assignment was purely an official appointment under the law and the government had not made any change in relevant law.
He said one of the selectees was son of Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khan Khosa which clearly showed that kith and kin of the ruling party were appointed at the federal level. Almost each appointee is having some political connection, he added, and requested the court to declare the selection made by the ministry of overseas Pakistanis secretary as illegal.
He also requested the court to order an inquiry by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to thoroughly scrutinise the selection process of CWAs and take action against the concerned officials.