ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), an attached department of Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) is going to advertise at least 97 posts of BPS 1 to 19 for recruitment.
As per the court order and rules set by the establishment division, an officer holding the acting charge of head of the government organization cannot make policy decisions which includes appointments, promotions etc.
MoST has not been able to fill the post of Director General (DG) PSQCA since the retirement of DG Abdul Aleem Memon on September 25, 2021. As per legal experts even the Additional Charge of DG PSQCA is like a temporary arrangement to cater for the day to day affairs of the organization on an honorary basis.
An office memorandum of the Establishment Division dated March 20, 2020 on the subject of exercise of administrative/ financial powers while holding a look after charge, says the offices entrusted with look after charge are not empowered to take policy decisions. Appointments and promotions do not fall in the category of the day to day business of the organization.
Interestingly, MoST has started departmental promotions (DPC) of employees of PSQCA in Karachi despite legal and technical issues linked with the process. The ministry has assigned Secretary PSQCA Umar Kazi, Ali Bukhsh, a Director PSQCA and a section officer of MoST to hold the DPC in Karachi. It seems the acting DG PSQCA and others are in a hurry to complete the process before a regular DG takes charge of the authority.
Interestingly, as per documents, the DPC list also included those employees against whom the MoST was directed to take disciplinary action following a departmental fact finding report about serious irregularities and violation of rules. The MoST fact finding committee’s report in 2014 revealed massive irregularities in the appointments under ‘package Aghaz-e-Haqooq Balochistan’ in PSQCA.
Furthermore, as per documents, those employees of PSQCA (of BS-19) who were promoted in 2020, have also been included in the list for DPC, clearly indicating that they even have not completed the length of services to be eligible for next promotion.
As per documents, MoST by holding DPC and initiating recruitment process, was also violating the PSQCA’s own service rules of 2015, under which only two component centers existed in the authority whereas the seniority list of regular employees was finalized on the basis of other centers which do not exist after merger into the authority.
Through an office order on August 19, 2022 all employees of the authority were directed to submit their credentials for DPC for employees of BS-1-16 and BS-18 to 19 of PSQCA Regular Employees as per Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority, Service Regulations, 2015 (SRO 419 (1)12015.
This is also to be noted that the Secretary PSQCA, who also holds the acting charge of secretary for years, has been made head of the DPC despite the fact that he is going to be retired from service in the next 12 days.
Apart from the violation of service rules 2015, the ministry, by advertising 97 posts, was also dishonoring a Sindh High Court’s verdict regarding regularization of at least 34 employees (of BS 16 and BS 17) of various projects of PSQCA as the list prepared for advertisement also included these posts.
MoST on December 21, 2021, assigned the additional charge of the post of Director General PSQCA to Syed Ata-ur-Rehman PAS/BS-21) an additional Secretary MoST initially for a period of three months as the ministry had advertised the post of DG PSQCA in MP-I scale. The acting charge to the additional secretary has not been extended officially but, Ata-ur-Rehman, claims his tenure would be approved along with approval of a new regular DG by the relevant forum.
It may be mentioned here that on December 9, 2020, Islamabad High Court (IHC) dismissed a writ petition filed by Rashid Mehmood Chaudhry, seeking a direction to respondent – Pakistan Hall Authority (PHA) an attach department of MoST to issue an appointment letter for the post of Director Admin and Finance (BS-19) against the Punjab Quota in PHA.
The court said in its judgment, “Since the case at hand, the Director General PHA who was holding the said post on looking after charge basis had chaired the departmental selection committee and had also made recommendation for making appointments, this was contrary to the office memorandum of the Establishment Division No-8/3/2022-R-3, dated March 3,2022.In view of the above, I don’t find any merit in this petition, which is accordingly dismissed with no order as to costs.”
Acting Director General PSQCA, Syed Ata-ur-Rehman PAS/BS-21) an additional Secretary MoST, when contacted claimed that all formalities were made for the DPC and advertisement of posts saying that he holds additional charge of the authority which empowers him to take policy decisions.
Interestingly, on the other hand, Secretary MoST Ghulam Muhammad Memon, claimed that by the time of completion of the DPC and recruitment process, regular DG would take charge of the authority. He however avoided replying to other queries.