PaK official accused of nepotism

Greater Kashmir

Muzaffarabad, Feb 22: The big and the mighty on both sides of the Line of Control are rightly believed to be sharing some tendencies. For example, they can mould the rules and regulations whichever way they like to favour their kith and kin, literally giving a damn to the government’s oft trumpeted commitment of upholding merit.
 One such case has recently come to fore in Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) where although the process of disbursement of compensation money to the earthquake survivors is at its fag end, a senior bureaucrat of the region is using his clout to get his daughter permanently inducted against a BPS-18 post created in the finance department without any genuine requirement, notwithstanding serious reservations by a number of concerned officials.
 Interestingly, while the Public Service Commission had initially pointed out some “discrepancies” in the finance department’s requisition letter and the departmental service rules for the post of “coordination officer,” which it said hindered its publicity for exams, it has now turned its back on those objections and advertised the post without even waiting for the clarification from the concerned department, sources told this correspondent here.
 Giving details, the sources said a post of coordinator was initially created on contract basis, against a lump sump monthly salary of Rs 35000, in March 2006. The purpose of creation of this and some other posts was described as “payment/disbursement of compensation money, preparation of detailed accounts/record of compensation money and its adjustment with the Accountant General’s office.”
 However, qualifications for the post of coordinator were designed in keeping with the credentials of the bureaucrat’s daughter who was selected by the recruitment committee, headed by her father. Interestingly, the recruitment process, from the release of newspaper advertisement to the issuance of appointment orders, was completed in less than 20 days. While all other officials were made to sit and serve in the deputy commissioner’s office, the coordinator was however allotted an office chamber in the finance department, besides provision of a dedicated vehicle.
 The appointments were renewed for another year in March last year.
 Sources however said as the disbursement of compensation money was nearing end, the said bureaucrat had manoeuvred creation of a new BPS-18 post in the finance department to get his daughter permanently inducted.
 Ironically, sources said, while the finance department officials were heard acknowledging in private conversations that the post was gratuitous, none of them had objected to its creation in writing – a practice they are accustomed to when additional posts, however genuine they may be, are demanded by other departments.
 In Nov last year, the S&GAD made an insertion in the PaK Finance Department Service Rules 1985, whereby “masters degree in English or any other social sciences subject, at least one year experience in the relevant field of government/semi government department, international NGO or foreign agency” were declared as minimum qualifications for appointment against the said post. The bureaucrat’s daughter has reportedly earned MA English recently.
 Not only the specific insertion of MA English as academic qualification but also merely one year’s experience for a BSP-18 post had already aroused suspicion about the transparency of recruitment. However, notwithstanding serious reservations none in the Civil Secretariat had challenged it, ostensibly on account of the power and influence wielded by the bureaucrat, sources said.
 “For appointment against a grade-18 post, a minimum requirement of experience is 5 years but ironically that has been blatantly ignored by the S&GAD while framing the amendment in rules,” said a source, pointing out that minimum experience/service in grade 16 or above for appointment/promotion as deputy secretary (BPS18) was also at least 8 years.
 “When rules are moulded to please the big and mighty, it’s bound to shatter the peoples’ trust in the system,” he added.
 Sources claimed that the finance department had requisitioned the post to the PSC under tremendous pressure but its officials were perturbed as to why the latter had shown so much agility in advertising it without even waiting for clarification to its superficial objections.