PM approves appointment of CPEC coordinator

Islamabad High Court issues stay order against appointment of chief economist


Shahbaz Rana December 07, 2016
PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has approved the appointment of a new project coordinator for the $51-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), while the Islamabad High Court has granted a stay order against the appointment of the Chief Economist.

The premier has approved the summary for the appointment of Asim Saeed as new project director of CPEC besides rehiring Chief Economist Dr Nadeem Javaid and other members of the Planning Commission, said officials of the Planning Ministry.

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However, the Islamabad High Court has already stopped the Chief Economist from working after the Economist Group challenged his appointment on the grounds that the post belongs to the Group and a person from the private sector cannot be hired.

The government made the decision to retain the incumbent chief economist after it decided not to return the sole grade-22 position of the Economist Group. It had turned down a representation given by Ijaz Wasti - the senior most officer of the group. This compelled Wasti to seek justice from the court.

The government decided to retain incumbent chief economist, Dr Nadeem Javaid, after his previous two-year contract expired a few months ago. The government had advertised these posts, inviting applications from the outgoing as well as other candidates from the private sector.

However, it conducted the interviews of only fresh candidates, giving preferential treatment to the sitting members. Dr Javaid was appointed as the chief economist from the private sector in 2014 after relaxing the experience condition from 25 years to 15 years. According to the original job requirements, which were subsequently amended, the chief economist should have 10 years of experience in economic policymaking.

Wasti, who is currently serving as Economic Advisor in the Ministry of Finance, had pleaded before the Secretary of Planning Ministry for his case to be sent to the High Powered Board for promotion to grade 22 and that he may be considered for the chief economist position. However, the Secretary Planning turned down his representation.

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The planning minister also eased out Major General (retd) Zahir Shah, who was earlier serving as Project Director of the CPEC. His contract expired mid of this year but the planning minister had asked him to continue. Later on, the minister changed his mind and decided to bring in a new person.

The government changed its mind at a time when the CPEC has entered into a critical phase. Shah was the focal person in the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform on CPEC and used to coordinates meetings pertaining to the $51 billion umbrella project. He was engaged with CPEC since the project’s beginning.

The Economist Group is a professional service group, constituted under the Civil Service Reforms of 1973. The group has long been marginalised and is not given its due share in the civil service. In April last year, the government had decided to assign two posts of additional secretaries of grade-21 for the Economist Group. The move was aimed at addressing the group’s concerns about career planning and improving economic decision making.

However, the Central Selection Board (CSB) in its May 2015 meeting did not consider the cases of the four eligible officers of the Economist Group for promotions to grade-21. The Planning Ministry had moved the cases of Dr Ali Bat, Rai Mohammad Nasir Ali Khan, Masoodul Hasan Quereshi and Dr Mohammad Afzal for promotion to the grade 21.

After being, left out these officers had written to the prime minister against this injustice, terming it a violation of their fundamental constitutional rights. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif never heard the grievances of these officers.

The CSB is meeting again next week and the Planning Ministry has this time forwarded the names of five eligible officers including the names of the four officers whose names were not considered by the CSB. Due to denial of right on grade-22 post of chief economist and delay in promotions against two 21 grade posts of Secretariat Group, the officers’ career progression has adversely affected.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2016.

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COMMENTS (4)

Amanullah Khan | 4 years ago | Reply It is a tragedy of extreme level. The highly qualified professionals are being denied their basic right of promotion to the higher positions on the pressures of the most powerful. Majority of citizens do not know that the Economists and Planners Group is the only professional group where a person becomes eligible to compete if he or she holds a 2nd class Master's Degree. While on the other hand all those persons are allowed to compete through CSS exams who hold a minimum of 2nd class Bachelors Degree even relaxed to 3rd Divisions from backward areas. Majority of these Bachelors Degree holders are defacto rulers of the Country. The most powerful is the DMG now renamed as PAS. The inefficient and corrupt political leaders easily become prey to the bureaucracy and they get the decision of their choice from these Political leaders. Mr. Ejaz Wasti is a competent officer of EPG who has variety of experience at his credit.Similarly all other 5 professionals carry vast experience and deserve to be promoted in their own right. Denial of the right to the most suitable persons will hurt all the professionals of EPG and badly effect their performance. As for as the recruitment to the positions in CPEC Secretariat is concerned it must be done by giving equal opportunity to each province particularly to the most sufferers of the CPEC. Minister for P & D must avoid favoritism and nepotism in recruitments. .
Libra | 4 years ago | Reply Must be among the near and dear ones of Sharif Family.
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