Press Council of Pakistan employees are appointed by committee: Shafqat Abbasi
By: Faisal Kamal Pasha
ISLAMABAD: Press Council of Pakistan (PCP) Chairman Raja Muhammad Shafqat Abbasi has said that an appointment committee, comprising members from the APNS, CPNE, PFUJ and Pakistan Bar Council chairman, make appointments in the Council.
“We publish the advertisement for appointments after seeking consent from all these members and as far as I am heading the PCP there are no chances of irregularities,” Shafqat Abbasi said.
The PCP chief was responding to questions regarding a petition filed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in which some officials of the council have challenged their termination from jobs as unlawful.
In the petition, three casual/daily-wage employees of the PCP – Muhammad Waqas, Ghulam Nabi and Abdullah Arsalan – informed the court that they were told that their services would be regularised as the federal government would frame rules for the PCP. The petitioners further told the court that the PCP officials had promised them that they would not advertise posts for recruitment instead they would regularise services of the petitioners.
With the said promises in place the PCP on March 29, 2012, terminated the services of Muhammad Waqas and Ghulam Nabi, while Abdullah Arsalan was terminated on July 13, 2012.
IHC judge Riaz Ahmad Khan a few days back issued pre-admission notices to the respondents seeking their reply. The petition will be heard in January 2013. The petitioners told the court that cabinet’s sub-committee had decided that services of any of the contractual/daily-wage employees in the ministries/divisions/attached departments, autonomous bodies and corporations, who had completed more than one year of service, his/her employment would not be terminated without bringing the case before the cabinet sub-committee and the services of all such contract and daily-wage employees should be extended till final decision of the sub-committee.
The petitioners told the court that a list of 49 employees of the PCP was produced before the cabinet sub-committee that approved their regularisation. Despite all the facts the PCP employees were terminated.
They alleged that top PCP officials had been trying to accommodate some of their relatives at the vacant positions.
PCP Chairman Raja Muhammad Shafqat Abbasi, while talking to this correspondent, said that the federal government was responsible for framing rules of business for the PCP that it did not shape yet. So the PCP was responsible for framing rules and regulations on its own and they had done the same.
He said the said employees were appointed before proper functioning of the PCP when there was no chairman, no registrar and no members. After the appointment of the above officials, the Ministry of Finance in 2007 approved a total of seven members’ staff for the PCP while the Ministry of Information had appointed almost 40 persons in the PCP. He said that they had sent a reference to the Ministry of Finance and were waiting for their reply in this regard.
Petitioner alleged that the PCP registrar was trying to appoint his relative at some position in the Press Council. Shafqat Abbasi said that it is a baseless rumour. The PCP registrar has no authority to appoint anyone.
He said that the petitioners had been trying to pressurise the administration and it is quite an unfortunate incident that one joint secretary of the Ministry of Information had appointed 40 persons against the sanction strength of seven persons. “When the sanctioned strength is seven how could we regularise the services of 40 persons. If the Ministry of Finance approve and enhance the sanctioned strength, we would have no objections to regularise the services of these petitioners,” he said.