ISLAMABAD: A group of lawyers and young pharmacists have accused the apex drug regulator in the country of reportedly hired as many as 91 assistant directors after the drug regulator changed the rules after they had issued advertisements and conducted recruitment tests.
In a joint press conference by the Pakistan Young Pharmacist Association (PYPA) and Pakistan Drug Lawyers Forum (PDLF) in Islamabad on Monday, they claimed that the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap) had listed the appointment criteria as passing the written test by the National Testing Service (NTS) with at least 50 per cent passing marks and clearing the interview.
PDLF President Dr Noor Mahar said that when the NTS results were announced, Drap reduced the requirements from 50 per cent to 40 per cent.
He alleged that the move was undertaken after taking bribes from each of those appointed to the assistant director slot. Moreover, those who could pay more, manage to secure postings as Federal Drug Inspectors — a post which requires at least 10 years of experience for an appointment.
“If the criteria had to be changed or relaxed, then the entire selection process must restart from scratch with a fresh advertisement in the newspapers, this is settled principle of the law,” he argued.
He demanded that the appointment of the assistant directors should be declared as illegal and overturned.
PYPA chief Dr Haroon Yousaf said that a clerk in basic pay scale grade 16 had been promoted to the post of deputy director administration and saw his salary triple and become eligible for health professional allowance which was equivalent to his previous salary.
The health professional allowance is only given to doctors, nurses, paramedical staff and pharmacists working in hospitals.
Dr Yousaf pointed out other incidents where junior officials were promoted to key posts which deal with patients.
Dr Mahar added that Akhtar Hussain had joined the Health Ministry in July 1991. While he passed away in 2001, someone was posing as the officer and working on his seat. To make matters worse, this was highlighted in two corruption references filed by the National Accountability Bureau.
He added that the imposter had allegedly accrued a billion rupee empire spread throughout the world including a factory in Turkey and one in China apart from a host of businesses in Pakistan, along with a huge plaza sprawling over four Kanals of land in the Liberty Market area of Lahore and four Kanal house in Lahore.
Dr Haroon said that they appreciate the efforts of Health Secretary Naveed Kamran Bloch who had taken away Hussain’s powers.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th, 2017.