ISLAMABAD: Rules have always been an impediment for those cutting corners, but it becomes more convenient when there are no rules and regulations at all.
Such is the situation where, for more than two years, the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) has not amended its rules, with most affairs being run without proper regulations.
Documents show that projects and appointments are being carried out without the approval of minutes from the last two meetings of its governing body.
The institute was found granting pension to an official in BPS-21, in violation of clause 18 of its own PIDE Act.
Similarly, it appointed consultants as “contingent staff” during a ban on appointments, while its ex-acting vice-chancellor (VC) and the aforementioned BPS-21 official were hired in the absence of any vacant post.
Such decisions have been taken without the knowledge of PIDE’s senate.
A meeting of the senate has not taken place since 2012, while nothing has changed since the arrival of the new VC, over a year ago.
Interestingly, some of the staff hired as consultants were former PIDE staffers. This is in violation of Federal Government Services Rules. According to the rules, no retired employee of any government organisation can be hired as a consultant for the purpose of reemployment only.
According to a four-page letter written to PIDE’s deputy registrar from an officer, the minutes of the second and sixth meetings of the PIDE syndicate have not been approved from the PIDE senate.
In its fifth meeting, then PIDE Senate Chairperson Salman Faruqui denied approving these minutes.
“It is pertinent to mention that important decisions, especially those including finances, were presented in the meetings and are still under implementation without the approval from the PIDE senate,” the letter reads.
According to PIDE Deputy Registrar Muhammad Hussain, the institute has their own act, while the government has its own.
“We can take only some steps,” he said, but was clueless when asked how two acts of Parliament can be contradictory to one another.
Lamenting the affairs of non-approval of rules and minutes, he said they were powerless and that they had fruitlessly requested the incumbent government to make amendment to the rules.
The last syndicate meeting was held in 2012. Since then, nothing has been done to resolve this issue.
“We have no option but to move forward,” Hussain added, hoping that the issue may come to the government’s attention soon.
PIDE VC Dr Asad Zaman said a committee had finalised the rules and regulations, and that these would be placed before the institute’s senate soon.
He confirmed that since taking his charge, not a single meeting of the senate has been held.
“Yes, it has not been held for several reasons,” he said, adding that one would be held soon. Replying to a question about unapproved minutes, he said that those too would be presented before senate.
“There is no serious lacuna in our law, and there is no serious problem. Official business is functioning smoothly,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 1st, 2015.