The appointments made by former housing minister Faisal Saleh Hayat were illegal. The National Assembly Standing Committee on Housing and Works on Friday recommended that all these appointments be cancelled.
Forty of these appointments in the housing ministry were from Jhang in Punjab, which is the former minister’s home constituency. The 40 appointments represent more than half of Punjab’s quota of 75, suggesting a bias shown by the former minister in making appointments.
The committee also recommended cancelling all illegal plot allotments to officials working on deputation in the Pakistan Housing Authority (PHA) and the setting of strict criteria for disbursal of plots among employees in future.
The committee directed the ministry to end the powers of the ministry’s executive committee to allot expensive plots to blue-eyed officers who come to the authority on deputation for a short period merely to get plots.
With the consensus of other members, Committee Chairperson Pervaiz Khan issued directives that deputation staff should not be given plots unless they spend at least three years in the department. The committee also directed the cancellation of plots already and ordered action against officers who have already sold their plots.
In its recommendation, the committee stated that in future, members of the executive committee should neither have the power to allot or avail plots from the authority. In future, at least three years of satisfactory service must be mandatory in the PHA and at least 10 years of overall service for an official in any government department to be eligible to avail the plot facility.
Federal Housing Minister Sardar Talib Hussain Nakai and Housing Secretary Kamran Lashari sought time to amend the powers of the executive committee.
“I seriously feel that the discretion of the executive committee has been misused and there is a need to amend it,” Lashari said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2012.