The National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHSRC) Ministry has appointed Dr Asad Hafeez as head of the Health Services Academy (HSA) even though he is one of the main accused in the infamous ephedrine quota case.
Dr Hafeez spent several months in jail for allegedly misusing authority in the allocation and local sale conversion of 2,500 kilogrammes of ephedrine to two pharmaceutical companies – Berlex Lab International and Danas Pharmaceutical. Dr Hafeez was a BPS-18 officer when he was jailed.
The Supreme Court has reportedly barred promotion of accused officials in the ephedrine quota case including Dr Hafeez – but still he has been appointed as the HSA’s executive director, which is a BPS-20 post.
Similarly, the NHSRC ministry also appointed Dr Jahanzaib Aurakzai as new director general health defying all rules and procedures. Minister of State for NHSRC Saira Afzal Tarrar is said to have recommended their names for the posts which were not advertised in the media.
Dr Aurakzai has allegedly been involved in financial embezzlement. He isn’t a selectee of the Federal Public Service Commission, according to documents available with The Express Tribune.
In a letter by a subsidiary department of the then ministry of health, (No. 1 (120)/90-Admn) it had been clarified that Dr Aurakzai was appointed against a purely temporary post without following the proper channel, ie, Punjab government as his employer, while he also concealed the fact that as medical officer, on that particular date, he was facing disciplinary proceedings under the government of Punjab, health department’s reference No. SO (NORT-1)/1378/N/89, dated 1st October 2002, for extended leave.
Minister of State for NHSRC Saira Afzal Tarrar said she wanted to ‘clean up’ her ministry. “The appointments [in question] were made on merit. These posts are internal and there is no need to advertise them,” she told The Express Tribune.
Imtiaz Inayat Elahi, the secretary of NHSRC ministry, also claimed that the appointments were made on merit. About Dr Hafeez’s alleged involvement in the ephedrine case, he said he has not been convicted yet so he could be appointed to the post.
Islamabad High Court order
Paving the way for Dr Aurakzai’s appointment, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif transferred the sitting director general health, Dr Muhammad Abdus Sabur, who later challenged Aurakzai’s transfer/posting in the Islamabad High Court (IHC).
Sabur told The Express Tribune on Friday that he assumed charge as the IHC cancelled the order on Friday. However, NHSRC Secretary Imtiaz Inayat Elahi did not confirm Friday’s court development.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2013.