A large number of sacked employees of Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) protested on Tuesday against the sudden termination from their permanent jobs.
Last week, the PARC authorities issued termination letters to as many as 250 employees from different departments on the grounds that they had been appointment by Zafar Altaf, the council’s former chairperson, without following the set criteria. But some employees appointed through the same criteria were not terminated as they had influential references.
The sacked employees accused PARC of nepotism, claiming that the positions would be re-advertised to accommodate some people on political grounds.
“I was terminated within hours without any reason or prior notice,” said Imran, who was a permanent employee.
Another employee said “Most of the terminated workers have served PARC for three to four years and were terminated in one go.” He accused the minister of directing PARC officials to readvertise the positions and accommodate his own people.
According to sources, 267 people had been appointed three years back against different posts of BPs-1 to 20 in PARC. Out of them, 250 were terminated and the remaining people have retained their jobs under speculations of nepotism.
A daughter of PARC member finance, sister of the personal secretary to the chairman, four persons with the reference of Naeem Saleem, another senior officer, among others, managed to save their jobs.
Jahanzaib Khan, another victim, said he had been working for PARC for the last 26 years and his son was appointed in the same department in 2006 purely on merit. But on Friday, his son’s termination letter was received, disturbing the entire family.
Khan said former chairperson PARC Zafar Altaf had appointed the sacked employees by following a proper procedure and without succumbing to the pressure of former minister for agriculture.
The protesters marched towards D-chowk and staged a sit-in there. They said that the protest would continue till the withdrawal of the government’s decision.
On the other hand, Sardar Mustafa, a spokesman of PARC, said these people were dismissed from their service on the directives of National Assembly Standing committee, cabinet division and court as they had been illegally appointed by Zafar Altaf. These people were appointed without advertisement or meeting the required credentials.
Mustafa, however, admitted that some people, who were appointed by Zafar Altaf through the same criteria, had managed to save their jobs due to their influential contacts.
He dispelled the impression that the posts would soon be re-advertised and people appointed on political grounds.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 25th, 2011.
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