Adhocism becomes order of the day under PM Nawaz

-File photo
  • A Grade-21 officer decides fate of senior officers of Grade-22 in federal, provincial govts

With Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in the eye of the storm after being caught in the Panama Papers scandal, the governance has become the first casualty as dozens of state institutions remain headless and are being run by junior officers on acting charge basis.

A detailed investigation conducted by Pakistan Today has revealed that at least four federal ministries remain headless including Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ministry of Information & Broadcasting; and the Ministry of Textiles. The situation looks grave as the prime minister has no time to appoint heads of dozens of subordinate institutions.

Even prime minister’s principal secretary Fawwad Hassan Fawwad who is not only considered the brain of the government’s bureaucratic handling but is also a trusted lieutenant of the premier, is not a Grade-22 officer. While Fawwad is Grade-21 officer, he decides the fate of many senior officers of Grade-22 in federal and provincial governments.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the biggest casualty of the continued lack of attention of the prime minister. Since the prime minister took charge on June 5, 2013, the post is lying vacant for ‘unknown’ reasons. Though the prime minister had appointed two of his close comrades to oversee the ministry’s affairs as veteran Sartaj Aziz was appointed as adviser while Tariq Fatemi was appointed as the special assistant.

However, the slot of the State Minister for Foreign Affairs also remains vacant after removal of Tariq Fatemi by the prime minister. Though Pakistan’s major exports are textiles, the Ministry of Textiles remains headless for the past over two years. No minister is looking after the affairs of the ministry despite the fact that with the launching of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), several projects have been unveiled including a textiles city being constructed in Sheikhupura, as free economic zone.

Though Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada has also written to the prime minister his inability to continue as a cabinet member due to unabated intervention in his ministry by Fawwad, the prime minister is yet to accept his resignation. However, since the minister is not attending his office, the ministry also remains headless for the time being.

Even the slot of the most important Project Coordinator for the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) remains vacant after Zahir Shah’s term ended in June last year. Though the prime minister on December 8, 2016, approved the summary for the appointment of Asim Saeed as new project director, but he (Saeed) later declined to assume the office.

Since then, the acting charge of the post has been handed over to Planning Commission’s Chief Economist Dr Nadeem Javaid. While there is no fulltime information minister after removal of Senator Pervez Rashid, no one has been given charge of the ministry and according to official sources, information secretary reports directly to prime minister’s daughter Mariam Nawaz.

Even State Minister for Information Maryam Aurangzeb has not been appointed in-charge minister as per the normal code. Moreover, the post of the managing director of the Pakistan Television lies vacant and Information Secretary Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera has been given acting charge of the state-run media house.

Similarly, Federal Ombudsman’s post is vacant since Salman Farooqi has retired. Moreover, no permanent director-general of the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) has been appointed. However, of late, acting director general has been appointed. Most importantly, the post of the State Bank governor is also lying vacant and the central bank is running under acting governor.

As per notification, Riaz Riazuddin, serving as deputy governor, was appointed as the acting governor of the State Bank for a period not exceeding three months or till appointment of a regular governor. The post of the chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) falls vacant since December 25, 2016. No replacement has been made by the federal government as JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman is lobbying to clinch the slot for of his blue-eyed.

While the suffering of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) continues with a downward slide in deficit and performance, the government is yet to appoint the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the national flag carrier. On April 22, previous acting CEO Bernd Hildenbrand was removed from his post, however his name continues to remain on the Exit Control List (ECL) due to a pending investigation by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for corruption and illegal actions by him.

The FIA is carrying out an investigation against Hildenbrand for leasing aircraft at inflated rates in comparison to prevailing market rates and for selling a PIA Airbus A310 aircraft to a German museum in violation of rules and regulations. The post lies vacant since February 2016 when Nassir Jaffer had stepped down following the killing of two staffers during a protest demonstration by the PIA union.

For the time being, Nayyar Hayat, the chief financial officer (CFO), has been given acting charge of CEO. Moreover, the posts of chief commercial officer (CCO) and chief operating officer (COO) are still vacant. PIA spokesman Danial Gilani says that the posts of CCO and COO have been advertised and selection process is underway.

The Privatisation Commission remains headless for a few months since previous chairman Mohammad Zubair has been posted as the governor of Sindh province. No replacement has been made yet. The post of CEO of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) is also lying vacant since April 12 after completion of tenure of SM Munir.

The post of Rawalpindi police CTO is vacant and STO Ch Yousaf Ali Shahid is dealing with the post. Top posts of power distributing and generating companies (DISCOs & GENCOs), OGDCL, Utility Stores Corporation, Auditor General and the State Bank are also lying vacant.

The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) is also being run without a chief. The National Institute for Rehabilitation Machine (NIRM) is also running headless as its executive director is yet to be appointed. Moreover, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) also remains headless as Islamabad Mayor Sheikh Ansar Aziz, who is considered a blue-eyed of the prime minister, was given the look after charge of authority on September 7, 2016, after Maroof Afzal was posted as the additional secretary at the Establishment Division.

Several attempts made to contact State Minister Mariam Aurangzeb to understand why the government is not appointing full time ministers or heads of other state institutions. She was also sent queries on her mobile phone which she saw but chose not to respond. No response was made by the state minister till filing of the report.


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