Taking engineers on board

The PEC demands are reasonable especially considering the fact that many engineers are jobless in Pakistan

Editorial July 27, 2019

The Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) has demanded removal of non-technical people appointed to technical positions and filling these slots with properly qualified persons. It claimed that non-technical people had been appointed to several top positions, and lamented that the consequences of which were there for all to see. Speaking at a news conference the other day in Islamabad, PEC Chairman Jawed Saleem Qureshi said highly professional and technical assignments should be given to competent engineers and technical experts.” He pointed out that “under the PEC Act, the appointment of non-technical persons to posts that require an engineering qualification is a punishable act and both the appointee and appointing authority are liable to six-month prison sentence.” He said now the circular debt in the energy sector had reached Rs1.7 trillion (there are 12 zeroes in a trillion) due to the inability of successive governments to utilise the skills of engineers.

The PEC demanded a stop to the collection of funds for the Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand dams and suggested that instead a public limited company be created in the private sector with monitoring by the public sector, and its subscription should be offered to local and overseas Pakistanis. He said the company could raise more than Rs1,500 billion in a matter of days. Qureshi said the country would have to channel dam waters through pipelines to cities. The government should engage with engineers for long-term planning in this regard.

The PEC demands are reasonable especially considering the fact that many engineers are jobless in Pakistan. Here one is reminded of some cases where unsuitable persons had been placed on important positions. It is said that in the previous government of a neighbouring country the man heading the ministry of health himself suffered from serious health issues; the finance minister was totally ignorant of economics. In Pakistan, recently a visually-impaired man had been given a helper during a test who could not even read questions.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2019.

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