ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has given formal approval for the appointments of three trade officers/attaches in key foreign missions.
The positions include deputy permanent representatives in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva, economic minister in the European Union (EU) headquarter in Brussels and trade minister in Pakistani Embassy in Washington, DC.
According to official sources in the commerce ministry, Ali Tahir, a BPS-20 officer of Pakistan Administrative Service Group, has been appointed for Pakistan’s foreign mission in Washington as the trade minister, also from the same group, Tariq Waqar Bakhshi, a BPS-20 officer is appointed in Geneva, who will work under Tauqir Shah at the WTO headquarters in Geneva. Whereas, Umer Hameed - a BPS-20 officer of Commerce and Trade Group - has been appointed as the economic minister in the EU headquarters in Brussels.
Hameed, designated trade attaché in Brussel, is the son of PML-N senator from Rawalpindi, Najma Hameed. However, it has been stated that he is a thorough professional and a competent officer in his group and it was his fifth attempt for the foreign posting through proper channels. He did not have the opportunity in the past despite qualifying for the position. He is currently working in prime minister’s secretariat as a joint secretary.
Ali Tahir, trade minister for foreign mission in Washington, is the cousin of Sami Saeed, Pakistan’s permanent representative at the Asian Development Bank. He is currently working as the provincial secretary in Punjab government.
Waqar Bakhshi, appointed as a deputy permanent representative for the WTO, is the son of former federal secretary Waqar Rustum Bakhshi and stated to be the son-in-law of the incumbent chief election commissioner of Pakistan. He is also the brother-in-law of Secretary Petroleum Arshad Mirza and is currently working as a joint secretary in the establishment division.
Earlier in June, the approval for the appointments against these three positions was given by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on an urgent basis and constituted the special selection board for the purpose. The board had conducted interview of as many as 20 candidates on June 25 and June 26. The special selection board was headed by Federal Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2015.
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