LAHORE: Justice Shahid Karim of Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday issued notices to the government seeking a reply on a petition challenging the “illegal” appointment of Agha Waqar Javed as a member of the Planning and Development Department’s Public Private Partnership Cell.
Petitioner Rana Muhammad Rashid said the department had invited applications for the vacancy through an advertisement. He said the requirements for the post were a postgraduate degree from a reputed varsity recognised by the Higher Education Commission, 15 years experience of programme development, familiarity with concepts related to public private partnership, proven ability to undertake multi-stakeholder dialogue and less than 50 years of age. Rashid said 59 candidates had applied for the vacancy. He said the scrutiny committee did not peruse any application and recommended the vacancy to be advertised again.
He said a subcommittee along with the recruitment committee had bypassed the observations of the scrutiny committee and shortlisted five candidates for interviews. Rashid said these included Javed, Tanvir Ahmed Zafar, Ahsan Maqbool Chaudhry, Shahzad Shaukat and Hammad Saleem.
He said Javed had not furnished any supporting documents to establish his academic credentials and had not elucidated the reason for the inordinate delays in his academic career.
Rashid said even if the credentials provided by Javed were taken at face value, they would fall short of the criteria. He said the scrutiny committee had concluded the same but the recruitment committee had overlooked these aspects and appointed Javed. He said the planning and development secretary and chairman had forwarded a summary to the chief secretary seeking Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s approval of the appointment.
Rashid said Lahore Development Authority Director General Ahad Khan Cheema and Services Secretary Mubashir Raza, who had played a key role in the selection process, had concealed the fact that Javed’s experience fell short of the prescribed criteria.
He said no reason regarding the selection of an ineligible candidate had been provided and no relaxation to this effect had been sought.
He said Javed’s appointment was illegal. Rashid said his credentials should be ascertained with regard to the possible initiation of criminal proceedings against him and to recover the public funds placed at his disposal following his appointment. He also asked the court to restrain him from exercising his powers till the petition had been disposed of.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2015.
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