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January 12, 2013

Thousands being recruited before polls to win votes

January 12, 2013

ISLAMABAD: As the Election Commission is taking its time to check the “job for vote policy” of the government just before the elections, there is a maddening rush at the federal level to make maximum possible appointments in different departments, purely on political grounds and without even bothering for transparency or merit.
Not only new jobs are being offered in thousands in different departments, those appointed on a temporary basis by the present government are being regularised in huge numbers, including those hired temporarily without any advertisement or merit.
The Establishment Division sources say the total number of such temporary employees — who were initially appointed without advertisements but were later regularised — is more than 30,000.
But this trend of regularising such temporary jobs is now on the fast track as the government is about to complete its tenure.
According to sources, the National Highway Authority board met early this week to regularise the services of 1,308 contract and daily wage employees at the annual cost of Rs472 million to the national exchequer. According to the documents available with The News, of these 1,308 temporary employees, 537 were appointed without advertising the vacancies.
The sources said because of these political appointments, the NHA, which had a total strength of around 1,200 personnel in 2008, has now almost 4,100 employees, more than thrice its staff four years ago.
Details show that the NHA board has cleared regularisation of 771 employees who were appointed on contract basis after advertisement but against project posts created for trauma centre/ambulance service on Motorways.
Twenty other employees, who were appointed without advertising the vacancies on contract basis against project posts or against quota for relatives of the deceased, have also been cleared for regularisation by the NHA board. The remaining 508 officials who have been recommended for regularisation are

daily wage employees appointed without advertising the vacancies.
The NHA chairman, according to the sources, had referred to his understanding with the Prime Minister’s Secretariat apparently to influence the board meeting for early regularisation of these 1,308 employees.
The Motorway Police, the sources said, is also seeking fresh appointments of almost 100 employees to create the Motorway Police Band.
Such appointments are being made almost in every federal ministry. In the FBR, 2,000 news posts would be advertised in the near future.
In the case of interior ministry, more than 8,000 jobs are being filled despite a formal complaint lodged to the chief election commissioner that these appointments are meant to engineer the forthcoming elections. The complainant, Anita Turab, has been suspended but the Election Commission remains unmoved.
Hundreds of new appointments are being made in the Islamabad Police despite the fact that a large number of serving policemen are illegally deputed for domestic duties with serving and retired senior police officers.
As reported by The News on Friday, for these politicised appointments even hospitals are not being spared and the federal government is inclined to appoint 450 officials in two leading hospitals of the capital — PIMS and Federal Government Services Hospital — despite serious objections of the Federal Public Service Commission.
Perturbed with this situation, doctors and staff members of these hospitals have written to the Chief Justice of Pakistan, seeking his intervention to pre-empt the political appointments just a few months before the elections.
A few days back, the Chief Election Commissioner had told The News that the commission was considering these controversial appointments at this critical juncture, however, no decision had been taken as yet to check what is generally being seen as ‘jobs for vote’ policy of the government.

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