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December 28, 2018

Swati lands in trouble again


December 28, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Former minister for science and technology Azam Swati is once again in trouble, as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has summoned him today (Friday) in another case of misuse of authority.

Swati had to resign earlier this month after a joint investigation team (JIT), formed on the Supreme Court’s orders, held him responsible in a case of misuse of authority following a brawl between his guards and neighbours and encroachment on his farmhouse in Islamabad.

The latest probe against him in the NAB involves a case of illegal appointment of ex-chairman Pakistan Science Foundation Dr Manzoor Hussain Soomro during Swati’s previous stint as minister in 2009.

“Whereas it has been revealed during the course of inquiry that you were Federal Minister for Science and Technology at the time when the first summary for appointment of Dr Manzoor Hussain Soomro as Chairman PSF was forwarded to the Establishment Division and this summary for appointment was processed through you,” says the NAB summon issued to Swati.

“In view therefore, you are hereby called upon to appear on 28th December 2018 at 1100am at NAB Rawalpindi,” the summons says. The case is being probed by Syed Maliha Shabbir, Assistant Director, Investigation Wing-1, NAB. The case is being probed on the Supreme Court directions.

Dr Shakeel Raza, a former officer of PSF, is complainant. Talking to The News, Shakeel Raza said the post of Chief Scientific Officer (BS-20), Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) was advertised with the qualification of Ph.D. in Computer Science or Engineering (Electrical/Mechanical) but Dr Manzoor Hussain Soomro was appointed to the post despite possessing Ph.D. in Agriculture Sciences. He said under the instructions of Azam Khan Swati, the then minister of science and technology, in complete violation of rules and regulations, gave the acting charge of grade 22 post of chairman PSF to a grade 20 Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Manzoor.

Later on, the post of chairman PSF was advertised in the press on 13.05.2010 for direct recruitment.

Despite the advertisement, the Ministry of Science and Technology did not call short-listed candidates for interview. Instead, it prepared a summary for appointment of Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro as chairman PSF for approval of prime minister through the Establishment Division.

As per Clause 6 of PSF Act 1973, the Chairman of the Foundation shall be appointed from amongst eminent scientists of the country having experience of research and scientific administration.

He alleged that after his illegal appointment as chairman PSF Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro undertook more than 20 international and about 80 national tours causing huge loss to the national exchequer.

When Dr. Shakeel Raza moved the Supreme Court against these appointments, the Supreme Court ruled that the petitioner may approach the NAB with his complaint, which will be dealt with in accordance with law. Dr. Shakeel Raza accordingly filed a petition with the NAB.

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