by HAMID KHAN WAZIR
Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has often remained in media, mostly not for good reasons as stories of rampant corruption and large-scale appointments on the basis of nepotism and favouritism against the rules and regulation of the authority taint its name
In the similar vein, well-placed sources in the organisation told Pakistan Today said that around 21 individuals had been appointed during the period of July 2009 to May 2011 in various posts violating the Service Regulations, 2005, of OGRA, but no action has been taken against them.
The officers, since then, have been illegally taking millions of rupees under the head of perks and privileges.
Appointment of these officials was made by the then Chairman OGRA Tauqir Sadiq on regular, contract and deputation basis.
Sources further said that the regular appointment of Muhammad Jawad Jamil as staff officer to the chairman was made on the basis of nepotism as he was latter’s nephew.
The post was advertised for scale E-2 equivalent to government scale BPS-18; however, at the time of selection, the candidate was given E-3 scale in the light of a later illegal decision of the authority regarding up-gradation of the subject post after the advertisement.
However, according to the Regulation-15(5) of the OGRA Service Regulation, 2005, E-3 and above posts should be filled through internal promotion as mentioned in the working paper dated July 06, 2012, submitted by Anwar Ali Sheikh, the then executive director (Admin).
According to the working paper available with Pakistan Today, the departmental selection committee (DSC) was also comprised of unauthorized officers i.e. Hizbullah Siddiqui, staff officer to chairman (contract appointee) Member Committee, Javed Iqbal Hashmi, Deputy Executive Director (CS) (contract appointee), member committee, Muazzam Hussain Chaudhry, executive director (P&C) and Mir Kamal Marri, member (Finance).
Similarly, the composition of the DSC was not in accordance with the regulation 11(a) of the OGRA Service Regulations, 2005, the sources added.
They said that despite a lapse of several years neither NAB nor any courts of law had taken any action against the committee members.
It is pertinent to mention here that there is no rule/regulation regarding up-gradation/re- designation in the OGRA, as per the legal opinion of Iqbal Ahmed Qureshi, the then executive director (legal).
The paper reads that Javed Iqbal Hashmi was appointed on contract basis as DED (Chairman Sectt); later on, he was transferred to Admin Department as DED (Admin), he was tested and interviewed by the then Chairman Tauqir Sadiq and the candidate was overage, while according to service regulation of the OGRA, E-3 scale posts would be filled by the internal promotion.
Besides, Tauqir Sadiq appointed an overage candidate Hizbullah Sidiqui as Staff Officer on a contract basis and later on he was transferred as DED (Chairman Sectt) though the service regulation of the OGRA did not allow it as the post of grade E-3 would be filled by the internal promotion, the sources added.
Tauqir appointed Muhammad Adnan on regular basis and Atteeq Aslam as a fresh candidate in violation of the service regulation, as the composition of the DSC was not in accordance with the OGRA regulations.
Similarly, the former chairman appointed Khalida Gulnar on deputation initially; however, she was posted as registrar and then JED (Appeals) later on.
Tauqir Sadiq, appointed Sidra Younas on regular basis as office secretary, Farurukh Azam Malik on regular basis as Assistant (HR) in scale S-3 and Muhammad Naveed was regularised, who were contract employees.
Sohail Shehzad Hussain a fresh candidate was appointed on regular basis and Hina Hassan was appointed as an assistant was interviewed by Tauqir Sadiq, the paper reads.
However, a number of Executive Directors are waiting for promotion since long, but due to non-availability of vacant post, no one has been promoted to next higher post i.e. Senior Executive Director (SED).
When this scribe contacted Imran Ghaznavi, OGRA spokesperson, he asked for documents, which were shared with him as well as with Asad Latif, joint executive director of the OGRA.
Questioners were sent to Asad Latif that since all these appointments were made in clear violation of OGRA rules as mentioned in working paper so what actions have been taken against them? These officials are enjoying all perks and privileges how the authority could justify it?
However; after seeking full day time to get detailed reply from relevant department, Asad Latif sent a text message stating, ‘I have checked from the HR department, the matter is in the court of law’.
Similarly, despite being in constant contact with National Accountability Bureau (NAB) spokesperson for the last one day, who also sought time repeatedly to get information from the relevant department, but then he too stopped answering the phone calls.