FIA lays charges against eight PEMRA officials
ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has registered a case against eight Pemra officials, including former chairman Mushtaq Malik, on charges of violating rules and regulations in the recruitment of 316 employees in March 2009.
Four officials were arrested in surprise raids on Tuesday evening, sources said while speaking with the Express Investigation Cell. Capt (retd) Zafar Iqbal Awan, director of the agency’s Islamabad Zone, said raids are under way to arrest the remaining accused.
An anonymous complaint was received by FIA authorities through the prime minister’s office in August 2013 against irregularities during the recruitment process by Pemra. According to the complaint, Pemra advertised 119 posts in March 2009 but the management employed 319 individuals, in violation of Pemra Employees Service Regulations 2008.
The complaint added that the candidates were selected on the basis of favouritism as most are relatives of former parliamentarians or Pemra management personnel. Many of the appointees were found to have forged certificates or degrees while others paid bribes, the complaint said.
The FIA investigation team subsequently requesting the record of recruitments for 2009 from the authority’s chairman. A letter received from Pemra’s general manager stated that the record could not be provided as the matter is sub judice in the high court. The FIA served a notice to the Pemra chairman under Section 94 of the CRPC requesting the records within two days. The record was provided by September 2013.
The records show that 327 persons were appointed, with preference given to candidates from rural areas in Sindh over urban areas of the province or other provinces, in disregard of the provincial quota and basis of merit required by the Employees Service Regulations 2008.
It was found that candidates’ mark-sheets were altered and preferred candidates were given additional marks. Then-chairman Malik Mushtaq Ahmed stated that he had constituted a fact-finding committee when irregularities in the recruitment process came to his attention. However, no record of such a committee was found.
The FIA inquiry team recommended the registration of a case against the former chairman and members of the departmental selection committee, including Dr Abdul Jabbar, Shehzad Nawaz Cheema, Sardar Irfan Ashraf Khan, Sardar Rehman, Muhammad Farooq, Ishfaq Ahmed Jumani and Zulfiqar Ali Chaudhry.