ISLAMABAD: The government has suspended a grade-20 official of the Ministry of Industries on disciplinary grounds after he was found stealing the wallet of a visiting foreign dignitary.
The Establishment Division (ED) has issued the suspension notification, with senior government officers saying that the official is highly likely to lose his job.
According to the notification, in pursuance of the government servants (efficiency and discipline) rules, Zarar Haider Khan, joint secretary at the Ministry of Industries, has been placed under suspension with immediate effect until further orders. He belongs to the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) group of the civil service.
The officer’s identity came to surface after a video went viral on social media showing him fishing the wallet of one of the visiting Kuwaiti dignitaries in his pocket while they were away. It is said the dignitary was a member of the Kuwaiti delegation visiting Pakistan to discuss business and trade with the new government at a local hotel.
Initially, when the Kuwaiti delegate asked for his missing wallet, there was nobody in the hall to answer him. Reportedly, the ministry officials frisked junior officers of the ministry present there, but in vain.
When the visiting delegates insisted for the missing purse, it forced the top management to look into CCTV camera footages and that was how Haider was found putting the wallet in the left pocket of his jacket.
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The wallet was handed back to the delegate. The visitors also wanted to know the identity of the official and get the CCTV video. The senior officers were reluctant to issue the details, but eventually they had to give in.
According to a senior officer, the EAD writes to the ED in such cases, asking them to issue suspension orders.
“Later the Establishment Division sends a summary to Prime Minister for nomination of a person from a panel of three persons to investigate the issue as per the efficiency and disciplinary rules of the service,” said the officer.
“Prime Minister then nominates a person who further investigates or designates a committee to probe the issue,” he said, adding that the nominated person or committed can issue a show-cause notice to the officer(s) in question and make recommendations to the PM on the basis of the investigation carried out.
When asked what could be the penalty for such a crime, the senior official said, “Since it involves an officer of the elite cadre in the civil service and concerns a foreign mission, it deserves maximum punishment. I think it should be dismissal from service for causing embarrassment at the international level.”
Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry was asked about the officer at a presser in Lahore. He replied that the government had suspended him and started investigation.
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