The Supreme Court of Pakistan’s judgment on sending back people on deputation in Pak Secretariat to their parent department may help improve governance in economic ministries as the ruling not only underlines the issue of nepotism in postings but also highlights the need for improving the human resource management.
The officers, currently on deputation in seven government departments, are often found creating obstacles during routine work due to their affiliation with top bureaucrats.
Defying SC orders: Government officials on deputation continue jobs
They also try to fill the vacuum created in these departments due to lack of quality human resource and inefficient mechanisms.
However, the same forces which helped these officers penetrate the Pak Secretariat - the seat of federal bureaucracy and other government departments - are creating hurdles in the implementation of SC’s orders, according to sources in the Establishment Division.
The apex court is currently hearing a case about the appointment of officers of the federal civic agency on deputation in other departments. Due to the SC’s intervention in 2013, thousands of employees who were serving in the Sindh government were sent back to their departments.
While hearing the case, Chief Justice of Pakistan Anwar Zaheer Jamali reportedly said the government officials had started opting for quick progression in their service through deputation in other departments.
In implementation of the court’s orders, the Establishment Division issued repatriation orders of seven officers to the civic agency on April 8, according to the notifications. The chairman of the civic agency also informed this to the apex court on April 13, according to a copy of his written reply.
However, the repatriation orders have remained unimplemented, which is not only a violation of the court’s orders but is also against instructions of the Establishment Division.
An official of the Establishment Division told The Express Tribune that the orders had to be implemented within seven days but in most cases the division did not receive compliance reports.
For instance, the Establishment Division issued an order for sending back a Grade-18 officer from the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) to the Capital Development Authority on April 8. The officer was deputed in July 2014 as deputy director against Basic Pay Scale-18.
Her hiring in the federal civic agency was also under investigation and there were also objections to her deputation, said sources.
The officer is now wearing three caps. She is the United Nations-III Section Officer, UN deputy secretary, and most importantly, Foreign Training Centre secretary, having the authority to decide which officer should go on foreign training.
According to the sources, she is misusing the given position and has gone for at least six foreign trips in the last almost one and a half years.
She went to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) workshop in South Korea in 2014, attended debt management training in Geneva in 2015, Colombo-Plan training in India in 2015, attended a meeting on aid effectiveness and earlier this month paid a visit to Singapore to attend a workshop on transport from the platform of Pakistan Sustainable Transport Project 2016.
Pakistan National Project Manager Dr Saleem Janjua, however, claimed that she was relevant to the subject and no favour was extended to her.
The sources pointed out that in 2012 the EAD had issued instructions on banning foreign trips by using project money.
EAD officials defended her, saying she was an efficient officer and filled the vacuum. They said she was not the only officer who was holding more than one charge. There are a numbers of other officers who wear more than one cap due to shortage of human resource.
Fresh start: City managers save face in deputation case
The appointments on deputation were not the only issue affecting the work of federal economic ministries.
There were also cases where retired bureaucrats were hired on regular posts, creating difficulties in normal business of these ministries.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2016.
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