Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has appointed his son-in-law Raja Azeemul Haq to the prestigious post of Executive Director (ED) of the World Bank in Washington.
Official sources said that Ashraf appointed his son-in-law to the post by using his discretionary powers.
Press Secretary to the Prime Minister, Shafqit Jalil told The Express Tribune that the premier approved the summary for appointing Raja Azeem as the executive director of the World Bank, adding that there was nothing unusual about the move.
The decision was taken despite resistance shown by Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, who tried to convince the premier to change his decision.
Officials said that the finance minister told the premier that his son-in-law was “junior” for such an important position. The official added that the concerned people could not resist the move beyond a certain point and the premier eventually put his foot down.
Furthermore, Economic Affairs Division (EAD), the department which was asked to formally move the summary by the prime minister’s Principal Secretary Ayub Qazi, also opposed the move. The department suggested that a head-hunting committee or selection board should be formulated under the Establishment Division to select a suitable candidate.
Competency of the candidate
Raja Azeem is currently serving in the PM Secretariat as the additional secretary on a grade 21 post, a position that a civil servant usually gets after serving for two to three decades.
Raja Azeem allegedly got ‘out of turn’ promotions. Belonging to the Income Tax Group, he was inducted in the Employees Old-age Benefit Institution in BPS-20 and then was promoted to BPS-21.
The ED gets an annual salary of $220,000 (roughly Rs21 million) and is appointed for a three-year-period. Currently, Javed Talat, a former career bureaucrat, is serving as the ED. Posted in November 2008, Talat was on extension till further orders.
The ED represents constituency of seven nations on the World Bank’s Board. The constituency comprises Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Tunisia, Morocco, Ghana and Algeria. The ED and Alternate Executive Director (AED) rotate between Pakistan and Algeria after every two years.
The job of the ED and AED is to defend development projects of all seven countries on the WB Board, providing input on macroeconomic reports relating to the constituent countries, giving opinions on global economic issues and defending the quotas and voting rights of the constituency. The ED or AED is also supposed to establish contacts with executive directors of the United States, China, Japan, France, Germany and the EU constituency to protect Islamabad’s interests.
The appointment requires endorsement from other constituent countries and, according to an official of the finance ministry, the World Bank too has its own system to ensure merit before confirming such appointments.
Furthermore, the appointment requires endorsement of the finance ministers of the constituent countries and any member can object to the appointment due to a candidate’s incompetency.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2012.
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