Senator’s son moves three grades up in a few months
By: Jawwad Rizvi
LAHORE: The Cabinet Division, Senate Secretariat and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) have agreed to resolve the issue of hiring the son of a prominent senator as assistant director in PTA and then pushing him three scales up as Zonal Director within a few months.
The issue revolves around the hiring of Chairperson Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat and Capital Administration and Development, Senator Kalsoom Parveen’s son Junaid Khan in the PTA as assistant director, said sources.
Khan, who has earlier served in Quetta in BPS 16, was appointed assistant director at the PTA zonal office, Rawalpindi, in BPS 17 five months ago by PTA Chairman Farooq Awan. After Khan’s appointment, say sources, the serving director was sent on forced leave so as to enable Khan to assume acting charge as zonal director of the PTA’s Rawalpindi office in BPS-19.
However, sources in PTA maintain that Khan did not fulfill the criterion of holding the position of zonal director. All zonal directors of PTA have engineering background as they are supposed to handle technical and administrative matters, they said.
Further, say these sources, these rapid appointments enabled Khan to scale three BPS levels within a few months. Khan is also accused of having attended training programmes at LUMS at PTA’s expense, whereas senior officers are not even given the chance to attend such trainings.
In addition, a few days before Eid-ul-Azha, Director Pay Packages Tayyab Bin Tahir was suspended by the chairman over the issue of fixing Khan’s salary.
Tahir, say sources, had refused to fix Khan’s salary on the basis of the last pay certificate (LPC) provided by Khan because the PTA was supposed to receive a sealed copy of the LPC from the PTA from the Auditor General’s Office.
However, after the Lahore High Court’s decision to remove Awan from the post of PTA chairman, the Cabinet Division, Senate Secretariat and PTA came into action to protect the senator’s son. Parveen started writing letters through PTA Director General (Enforcement) Sajjad Awan, who also served as the Director General Law and Human Resources.
Awan registered a complaint on January 17, 2013, with the Cabinet Division stating that the two members of the PTA, member finance and member technical, were using the powers of the chairman and violating section 3(8) of the PTA Act, 1996.
The Cabinet Division issued a memorandum dated January 18, 2013, instructing both members to remain within the mandate given by the PTA Act.
The memorandum also instructed Awan to circulate the letter amongst all officers dealing with such cases and a compliance report to this effect was also asked to be conveyed to the Cabinet Division at the earliest.
Thereafter, Awan issued a letter dated January 21, 2013, stating the details provided in the memo by the Cabinet Division.
Similarly, a letter dated January 21, 2013, was issued by the Human Resources Director, which stated: “It is informed that the LHC vide its short order dated January 15, 2013, had declared the appointment of chairman PTA to be without lawful authority and had further directed to relinquish his post before the close of working hours on January 15, 2013, and the appointment of a new chairman shall be completed by the federal government in its due time.
Therefore, to ensure that the regulatory body does not come to a complete standstill, both the existing members of the Authority in order to ensure transparency and accountability shall be jointly making decisions, which is permitted under section 3(10) of the PTA Act, 1996. In this view, for the authority’s smooth functioning, it has become necessary to exercise powers of the authority conferred under section 3(8) read along with section 3(10). Thus, all orders issued by the members of the authority are to be complied with.”
Interestingly, the senate secretariat also issued an immediate order stating that in view of the LHC verdict on the appointment of chairman PTA, some PTA members were taking decisions on their own, while under section 3(8) of the PTA act, all the administrative powers are vested in the office of chairman.
Parveen accordingly advised members and other officials of the PTA not to make decisions till the issue of chairman was resolved and said that all postings and transfers made by members may be cancelled. Awan issued the same instructions to PTA officials on the same date.
Interestingly, while Parveen admits that her son was appointed on deputation in the PTA, she is quick to defend charges leveled against him. “My son is not illiterate. He has done his MSc in Physics and has previously served in BPS-16 in the Forest Department, Balochistan,” she said, adding that her son’s deputation was not unlawful as he joined PTA under the Balochistan quota.
She further said that more people would join the PTA under this quota as 700 applications have already been received by them. She insisted that her son was not appointed unlawfully as a number of other officers also joined PTA on deputation.
Special Secretary to the Cabinet Shahid Ullah Baig said that the Cabinet Division was working on the matter and it would be resolved soon.
According to Awan, both the members want to avail the benefits of over Rs10 million each at their retirement by exercising chairman’s powers. He said that the Cabinet Division and Senate Secretariat barred them from doing so.