Nearly halfway through its term, the government is still moving at a snail’s pace when it comes to appointing key officials, prompting the opposition to cry foul.
The Supreme Court had to intervene last year amid political rivals’ accusation that the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz sought to engage handpicked people on key positions.
Already embroiled in allegations of promoting nepotism, the government has scrapped almost a year-long process of appointing community welfare attachés (CWAs), which could serve the interests of millions of overseas Pakistanis.
“The summary (seeking approval of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif) has been disposed of,” a senior official at the PM’s Office (PMO) told The Express Tribune. “Therefore, the appointment process would need to be started anew.”
The process is likely to take another six months, but eight existing CWAs have already completed their tenure and have been overstaying beyond their three-year tenure.
The stations where the CWAs’ tenures have ended are Seoul (January 4, 2011 to January 3, 2014), Muscat (January 20, 2011 to January 19, 2014), Riyadh II (January 26, 2011 to January 25, 2014), Dubai II (February 2, 2011 to February 9, 2014), Baghdad (April 15, 2012 to April 14, 2015), Jeddah II (May 30, 2012 to May 29, 2015), Barcelona (June 17, 2012 to June 16, 2015) and Riyadh I (April 30, 2012 to April 29, 2015).
“At best the government is clueless, working on an ad hoc basis,” said Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Farhatullah Babar. “At worst its motives are clearly questionable and its conduct less than honest, which it tries to hide behind tall claims of sincere intentions.”
On the other hand, a senior government representative issued a statement wherein he shifted the entire blame on former secretary of the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis & Human Resource Development.
Parliamentary Secretary for Overseas Pakistanis Sardar Shafqat Baloch said the former secretary had proposed the names of his choice in the summary sent for approval to the premier. “But the names were refused.”
When asked for comments, former secretary Sikandar Ismail refused to make a statement. “My code of conduct does not allow me to speak.”
However, a senior official from the ministry said it was unfair to hold one person responsible for the partial selection of candidates. “The decision is made by the selection committee, which comprises other members as well.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2015.