Selection process of officers for trade missions abroad challenged in court

IHC asks commerce ministry why some qualified candidates weren’t even interviewed

The selection process of Trade and Investment Officers (TIOs) at Pakistan’s Trade missions abroad has long been marred by irregularities. However, the matter was brought in the limelight after recent selection was legally challenged by the officers.

Sources told Profit that after not being called for an interview, despite clearing the written test for the TIOs, certain candidates have finally approached Islamabad High Court (IHC).

In response, the IHC Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb on the petition has sought details from the Ministry of Commerce for not interviewing a petitioner, Dr Muhammad Hamid Ali.

Dr Muhammad Hamid Ali, in his petition, has questioned the very legality of the recruiting process adopted by the commerce ministry for selection of TIO officers.

Dr Muhammad Hamid Ali has informed the court that he passed the written test conducted on 6th of August by securing 64.5 marks and subsequently received the call for an interview. 

The petitioner was at the designated venue for the interview on the said date but was not called for an interview that no reason whatsoever was given to the petitioner for not interviewing him.

Similarly, another candidate, Dr Shagufta Zareen, a BPS-20 officer of Inland Revenue Service in her petition submitted that she secured the highest marks in BS-20 in the written examination conducted by M/S LUMS University for the post of Trade Investment Secretary on 6th of August, and remained on the 11th position in overall merit.

She was also called for interview to be held but a day before the said interview, the petitioner’s candidature was withdrawn through the impugned email on the ground that she does not fulfill the eligibility and ineligibility criteria as she has not secured minimum “very good” Performance Evaluation Reports of the last five year. 

She submitted in her petition that no impediment was pointed out by the ministry of commerce till the last moment, which smacks of mala fide on their part. The petition states that the PERs, which were good enough for her appearance in the test,  cannot be brushed aside for the purpose of her appointment to the posts advertised.

Sources also said that the commerce ministry in sheer violation of its policy has shortlisted another BPS-20 officer, who was previously recalled due to poor performance.

It is pertinent to mention here that 101 out of 262 candidates have passed the written test for grade 18 to 20 TIOs’ positions in different countries abroad. Subsequently, a seven-member committee under the chair of Commerce Minister/Advisor on Commerce (Chairman) conducted interviews for the above mentioned grades.

Shahzad Paracha
Shahzad Paracha
The writer is a member of Pakistan Today's Islamabad bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]


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