NA chair stops sacking of PARC employees

Asks agriculture institution to put process on hold till PAC panel submits findings

Waqas Ahmed August 03, 2021
Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan Qasim Suri. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE


National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri has stopped the process of laying off the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) employees, who were hired in alleged violation of rules and procedures.

At the National Assembly session on Tuesday, PML-N leader Khawaja Asif demanded during a point of order that the government stop firing the PARC employees as they have been working for the organisation for around 15 years.

The deputy speaker, who was presiding over the session, later issued a ruling to stop the process of termination of services until a subcommittee of the parliament’s accountability arm, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), submits its report.

According to a report published in The Express Tribune last week, PARC administration on July 24 laid off 69 employees, appointed over a decade ago in alleged violation of rules and regulations.

These 69 employees included officers from grade-17 to grade-19 and they were part of a group of 269 employees that the administration had decided to lay off in phases.

A sub-committee of PAC on January 18 directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to hold an inquiry into the appointments made in PARC in violation of rules.

Also read: PARC fires 69 ‘illegally hired’ employees

The committee had issued the order while reviewing the audit objections of the Ministry of National Food Security for the year 2014-15. The audit officials had earlier briefed the committee about the non-provision of records of 269 reinstated PARC staff.

At the NA session on Tuesday, the chair also referred the matter of granting permission of fishing to fishermen from Karachi to Gwadar to the relevant committee. The matter was raised by two PPP lawmakers, Abdul Qadir Patel and Agha Rafiullah.

PML-N’s Rao Ajmal called the attention of the house to the decreasing per acre yield of cotton and sugarcane. He said the yield of cotton remained low even during the tenure of the previous governments but it had reduced phenomenally during the PTI rule.

“The government has now appointed an adviser on agriculture and that adviser has previously worked for an Indian company which was involved in a one billion rupees hybrid seeds scandal,” he said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on April 19 appointed Jamshed Iqbal Cheema as the special assistant to the prime minister (SAPM) on food security.

Responding to the calling attention notice, Minister for Food Security and Research Fakhar Imam said in the ongoing year, all crops have been remarkable except the cotton crop.

He said in the last 18 year the previous governments did not make laws for registration of crops but the PTI government has made these laws. “Even today, the federal cabinet set the price of 40kg of cotton at Rs5,000 [in order to protect the interest of growers],” the minister added. 

MNA Mohsin Dawar later pointed out the lack of quorum and the NA sitting was adjourned till Friday 11am. Interestingly, after adjournment of the session two PTI lawmakers Ali Nawaz Awan and Abdul Shakoor Shad exchanged barbs, hurled threats at each other and nearly came to blows.


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