Pemra's finance wing objects to political appointments -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Pemra’s finance wing objects to political appointments

By Abdul Sattar Khan

LAHORE: While the high-ups of the Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) are out to justify before the Lahore High Court (LHC) a large number of politically motivated appointments in the authority by twisting facts, an in-house dissenting note by the finance wing of the Pemra has already created doubts about the entire process of the recruitments.

These appointments were made as top government officials exerted pressure to accommodate them.

Within weeks of the issuance of appointment letters to the political appointees, the finance wing of Pemra had issued a letter expressing its severe concern over these ‘mass scale appointments, which resulted in undue pressure on the expenditure of the authority. The letter says, “The progressive expenditure on account of pay and allowances has considerably increased than the proportionate expenditure till 31st July 2010 i.e. just in one month of financial year 2010-2011. It is not out of place to mention here that the finance wing has not been taken on board regarding creation/up-gradation of posts and budget position has also not been envisaged, which created anomaly”.

After expressing its concern over the exorbitant increase in the salary expenditure, the Director General (Finance) Pemra Abdul Basit Khan, had asked the Human Resource Department of Pemra, “In order to rationalise the budget on account of pay and allowances, position of sanctioned strength against each grade as on 1-7-2009, posts created during the year 2009-2010, available strength as on 30-6-2010 and updated position of sanctioned/available strength as on today may be provided”. It must be mentioned here that the daughter of the Director General (Finance) Pemra Abdul Basit Khan has also been appointed in the Pemra after she had cleared the written exam and fulfilled the other requirements of the selection process. This may be one reason that the DG Finance had objected to politically motivated appointments, as he was sure that his daughter had cleared all the pre-requisites and was not amongst those candidates who were appointed due to their political connections.

As per the objections raised by Pemra’s finance wing, only 18 posts were advertised, more than 60 candidates were appointed as Assistant General Manager (Technical) and Assistant General Manager (Non-Technical), and that too without advertising the additional 42 posts. The Pemra bosses did not bother to take into confidence even the finance wing despite the fact that the financial matters of such recruitments are dealt by the finance wing. The additional financial burden of these appointments has already compelled the Pemra high-ups to revise the medical policy of the Pemra employees who are now bound to bear the burden of medical treatment on their own within their meager resources.

As per the revised medical policy, which is understood to have been introduced to offset the huge expenditure to be incurred on account of these appointments, the employees will only be entitled 25p percent medical allowance of their basic pay and there will be no facility of 100 percent medical cover for both indoor and outdoor as against the earlier policy when the employees of Pemra were fully covered on account of indoor and outdoor medical facility.

The new revised policy has now allowed the 100 percent medical cover for both the indoor and outdoor only on 4 diseases, which include heart bypass (cost of stent to be borne by employee), cancer, dialysis and Hepatitis-C only.

Under the new arrangements, on other indoor medical treatment 75 percent of the total expenditure will be borne by employee while Pemra will shoulder the remaining 25 percent. These drastic steps on the part of the Pmra authorities have obviously been taken to accommodate the new appointments to please the political bosses of the country, as a result of which the rest of the employees have been left in the lurch to face the crunch of the additional financial burden.

Approached for comments, Chairman Pemra Mushtaq Malik said, “The department concerned had taken all possible steps to ensure a transparent process whether it is concerning with appointments or any other issue relating to these appointments”.
Source: The News