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November 21, 2018

Serving bureaucrats superseded, retired promoted to BS-22


November 21, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The post-retirement promotion of two bureaucrats to the highest Basic Pay Scale (BPS) 22 qualifies them to get certain benefits although they will remain deprived of the luxury and comfort of the government service, carrying clout and perks and privileges.

Imran Ahmed belonging to Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS), popularly known as the DMG (district management group) and Shafiqur Rehman Ranjha, who recently retired after attaining the age of superannuation of 60, have just been promoted along with other officers.

One huge benefit that these promoted retired officials will attain will be a 500 square yard residential plot each in Islamabad, a senior bureaucrat told The News.

The piece of land is worth millions of rupees in the open market while its allotment price is quite meager in comparison to the proceeds of its sale. When the official was told that the new government may not allocate the plots to these officers, he said that so far this policy is in place and the administration may discontinue if it wills as per its austerity drive.

The second profitable advantage to such promoted officers, the official said, is to have augmented monthly pension, attached to BPS 22. The third benefit, though non-monetary, he said, is the prestige and status that the concerned officers will carry - they retired in grade 22.

The official said that the post-retirement promotions were very rarely given due to the fact that such officers qualified for elevation but could not be moved upward as the selection board meeting was not held and they got superannuated.

AD Khawaja, currently the Inspector General of Motorway Police, was superseded in the instant round of promotions although he always earned immense appreciation from the Supreme Court while working as the Sindh police chief. On its orders, he was retained at this post for a long time despite the provincial government’s consistent desire and efforts to sideline him.

At a public rally on April 2, 2017, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan had criticised the removal of AD Khawaja as the Sindh police chief, saying that the move was made because the officer refused to facilitate corruption. "I just read with dismay that AD Khawaja was relieved as the Inspector General of Police [IGP] Sindh not because he was involved in illegal activities, but because he was stopping others from committing illegal activities.”

Instead another senior police officer Naeem Khan was promoted. Nawaz Sharif as the prime minister had superseded him twice by not elevating him to Grade 22 on the basis of reports, the official, who is privy to the matter, said.

Hussain Asghar, who is currently the Director General of the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) and has to his credit investigating mega corruption scandals without fear, has been placed in the highest grade of the civil service. He is due to retire in the next three months. He was made the ACE chief by the present government and has been tasked to dig out corruption of key leaders of the previous ruling party.

The official said that if Naeem Khan and Hussain Asghar were to be promoted for any reason, another post would have been created for adjustment of AD Khawaja in grade 22 because he met the requisite qualifications.

As prime minister, Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani had promoted the biggest-ever number of bureaucrats, 56, to grade 22 so that his Principal Secretary, who, being junior was quite down the list, was also covered.

“The premier had shown immense largesse and benevolence so that the maximum numbers of officials are accommodated,” the official said.

However, these promotions were challenged in the Supreme Court, which struck them down. It ruled that at least two years’ service was required in BPS 21 for movement to the next grade. It further held that the prime minister has the discretion to do such promotions but it is not absolute. The discretion has to be judicious, reasonable and highly structured and will be justifiable in a court of law, the judgment said.

The official said that the senior most officer of the customs group, Zahid Khokhar, has also been superseded although he is known for his competence. Because of surpassing the revenue target, he was recently assigned the most prestigious position in the customs department.

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