The Ministry for Overseas Pakistanis has experienced a dark chapter during the last five years due to politically motivated postings against key positions in 20 foreign missions.
The outgoing government posted two dozen community welfare attaches in an apparent violation of rules. These appointments were made under the supervision of the then ministers for MoOP Syed Khurshid Shah and Dr Farooq Sattar.
Almost all those appointed seem to be closely related to the then prime minister, cabinet members, and top bureaucrats, according to official documents The Express Tribune read with cooperation of a senior official on Thursday.
Sardar Balakh Sher Khosa, son of former governor Punjab Latif Khosa was appointed as counsellor on April 4, 2012 in London on a private quota without observing the rules. Later, Khosa was transferred from London to Sydney.
The document also revealed that Syed Akbar Adil Shah, brother-in-law of former federal minister for labour and manpower, Syed Khurshid Shah, was appointed as counsellor in Sydney on January 1, 2009. Adil Shah’s tenure was also extended by two years.
Dr Riaz Hussain Laang, a family friend of former PM Yousaf Raza Gilani was appointed as 2nd Secretary in Dubai on February 10, 2011 after Gilani recommended him to the ministry. Gilani also directed the ministry to appoint Rabnawaz Khan of Police Service of Pakistan in Kuwait as 2nd Secretary in 2009, Muhammad Humair Karim as counsellor in Seoul in 2011 and Chaudhry Nadeem Arshad of ISI in Kuala Lumpur as 1st Secretary in 2008.
Mir Ghulam Farooq Longove, a close friend of Syed Khurshid Shah, managed to get his posting as 2nd Secretary in January 2011 in Abu Dhabi. Similarly, Amir Rehman was posted as 2nd Secretary in Tripoli on recommendations of Syed Khurshid Shah, who also recommended Moeenudin of ISI as 1st Secretary in Riyadh-I.
Dr Mazharul Haq Kakakhel was appointed as counsellor in Jeddah-I in May 2012 on recommendations of ex-K-P CM Amir Haider Hoti, who sent a reference letter to Dr Farooq Sattar.
Syed Maqsood Qaiser Shah was also appointed as counsellor in Bahrain in April last year for two years but his tenure was later extended for two years; he was recommended by Anwar Ali Cheema.
Similarly, Syed Tehseemul Haq was appointed as 1st Secretary Jeddah-II in May last year after former NBP president, Ali Raza recommended his name to Dr Farooq Sattar.
Fiza Batool, daughter of former managing director, National Education Foundation, Kamran Zaffar succeeded in getting a posting in Milan as 1st Secretary in October last year, and was later transferred to London.
Rashid Nizam and Syed Muhammad Farooq were appointed as counselors in Doha and New York, respectively, on the recommendation of Dr Farooq Sattar, while Haroon Waqar Malik also succeeded to get his appointment in Dubai-I through Dr Sattar.
Nadeem Ashraf, Secretary at the Ministry for Overseas Pakistanis, denied that appointments were made on a political basis.
“There is no such record in his ministry at the moment that these postings were made on political basis.” He, however, explained that he did not know about appointments that were made last year.
Dr Farooq Sattar, while talking to The Express Tribune, categorically denied that rules were violated in the appointment of these community welfare attaches. The ministry, however, relaxed the rules for the competent candidates irrespective of their political affiliation.
Khurshid Shah, when contacted, referred the matter to his personal secretary Majeed Khokar who told The Express Tribune on Thursday that “All appointments were made on merit no matter from which political party they belonged to.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2013.