Propriety of a designation appears to be lost on the office of the Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters (PCIW) where a junior-level officer, deputed from Wapda has been serving as acting commissioner, appointed by an official who has an acting charge himself.
The two officials have been dealing with India on critical water issues.
Ijaz Ahmad Patafi, who worked earlier in Wapda, was deputed by the acting Commissioner Sheraz Memon to manage the workings of the PCIW despite Patafi being the junior-most officer in the commission, sources told The Express Tribune. In doing so, Memon bypassed the senior-most joint commissioner, they added.
Holding charge while attending classes
When contacted, Memon, who is currently enrolled for the National Management Course at the National School of Public Policy, denied that Patafi was given the acting charge.
“Though I am on a training course, the government has given acting charge to the joint secretary ministry of water and power, Imran Cheema,” he said.
Cheema, when contacted, denied having the acting charge and said that despite being on an official course, Memon was holding the PCIW’s acting charge.
“He comes to the office in the evening, after attending the training,” Cheema said.
Memon’s routine has made the PCIW dysfunctional, sources said, adding that he is not available for discussions and important meetings related to the implementation of the Indus Waters Treaty.
Sources said that Memon applied for the course and sought permission to attend it, despite being aware that Pakistan was at a critical juncture in its case against India on the Kishenganga dam dispute.
Cheema said that while he had been deputed to lead a team to inspect the Nimoo-Bazgo project in occupied Kashmir, he was not given the charge of acting commissioner.
Ill-prepared at The Hague
Documents reveal that Memon had been nominated to attend the hearing on interim measures in the Kishenganga arbitration at The Hague but nominated a junior official, Aijaz Patafi, at the last minute to represent the PCIW at The Hague.
Sources say Aijaz was nominated despite having nominal knowledge of the history of the dispute with India.
His lack of experience and preparedness created hurdles for the team at The Hague which was trying to firm up their oral presentations before the Court – presentations that lasted seven hours over two days, sources added.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2011.