24 press officer inducted for foreign posting
ISLAMABAD: Interviews for the lucrative foreign posting of 24 press officers are being held tomorrow at the Ministry of Information despite strong protest by a number of Information Group officers who have urged the government to cancel the process owing to alleged massive irregularities.
At least 10 officers of Information Group have written representations to Secretary Information Imran Gardezi pointing out violation of rules in the appointment process.
The secretary information was not available for comments. A senior official, however, rejected all charges of irregularities in the appointment process. He said the whole process is transparent. It always happen that those not selected start raising allegations. They did not accept their weakness but claim deficiencies in others. This is a way to keep up pressure. This is not a new thing, he asserted.
According to the representation of said officers, a copy of which is available with The News, the selection process for the Press Officers in foreign missions is being conducted in the most unfair, discriminatory and non-transparent manner.
The letter includes a list of 10 deserving officers who were ignored in the process of recruitment while names of 10 officers with ineligibilities are also part of the representation. The officers have pointed out a number of procedural irregularities and gross violations of various directives of the prime minister in the process.
The External Publicity Wing of the Ministry has initiated the process of posting of Information Group Officers in the Pakistani Missions abroad and conducted a written test on 15th March. “Information Group officers are highly perturbed because of violations of policy and blatant display of nepotism and prejudice in the whole process,” the letter says.
According to letter, the process was initiated without formulating a specified criterion for determining the eligibility for foreign postings and implementation was started in a haphazard manner.
Under the policy guidelines for foreign posting issued by the PM Office on 13th February 2016 a written test for cadre post is not recommended.
Interestingly, results of the test have already become controversial as 14 out of 36 officers who appeared obtained less than 60% marks and were declared “failed” but later on decision was altered as some of the favorites were among the failed lot.
Now all those who appeared in the test have been called for interview on May 11, 2016, resulting in dismay of the officers who passed the exam, making the entire episode further controversial.
Numerous officers eligible according to the policy guideline and initial shortlist were not invited for test because of personal grudge and prejudice.
It says 30th September 2015 was the cutoff date for determining eligibility while the test was held on 15th March 2016. There seems no justification for setting of September 30th as the cutoff date.
It says same test was conducted for the posts of BPS 18, 19 and 20 despite the fact that the job description and experience of these grades are not same. “Instead of LUMS or IBA, written test was conducted through the NUML which stands at 31st in HEC ranking of universities. This is gross violation of PM Office OM/foreign Posting guidelines,” it says.
A practicing journalist and faculty member at Mass Communications department of NUML who himself was an applicant for the foreign posting when advertised in September 2015, participated in preparation & checking of papers.
The letter mentioned a number of officers not eligible according to the Estacode guideline for foreign postings abroad & prime minister’s directives who were invited for test and interview.
“Seven officers who have availed foreign posting and are in promotion zone are invited for the test and interview. Their posting will usurp the right of many deserving and eligible officers in same grades who have not yet availed foreign posting and would also block seats affecting promotional prospects of junior officers,” it adds.
One of the officers who already returned without competing her earlier foreign posting earning adverse remarks from her ambassador is being favored in this process again at the cost of other deserving officers. The letter requested the Secretary to stop the recruitment process and constitute a committee to look into the issue.