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September 24, 2019

Planning Commission member leaves for abroad sans permission


September 24, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Despite refusal of competent authority for granting leave, the Planning Commission’s Member Social Sector Shabnam Sarfraz has gone to USA for attending Harvard University fellowship for four months.

Top official sources confirmed to The News here on Monday that PC’s Member Social Sector Shabnam Sarfraz who was hired on MP-1 scale a few months back, went to USA without getting approval of the competent authority. “She simply informed Deputy Chairman Planning Commission verbally and had flown to USA,” said top official sources while talking to The News here on Monday.

When contacted to Planning Ministry’s top official and spokesman for seeking point of view, it was confirmed that no leave was sanctioned and she had gone to USA without getting approval of the competent authority.

Under the rules, the top official said, the leave was applied and granted then the official could proceed abroad. However, the sources said that the Member Social Sector obtained Harvard fellowship on any health related project and she applied for permission of leave.

However, the competent authority had refused to grant her leave because under the rules the contract employees cannot be permitted on leave for months. However, the concerned Member Social Sector unilaterally took decision to proceed abroad and before leaving, she issued instruction to her subordinates for sending official files on email for checking during her period of stay abroad in next four months.

When Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Muhammad Jehanzeb Khan brought this issue into the notice of Secretary Planning Zafar Hasan that the Member had just informed him verbally before her departure to USA.

It was shocking for the Secretary Planning as he inquired how she could proceed without getting approval from the authority concerned. Another official from Planning Commission told this scribe that her fellowship plan was on the cards and it was known that the contract employee on MP-1 scale could not avail herself of four-month long leave. So it was expected that she might tender her resignation before taking her decision to go for attending this fellowship at Harvard.

This scribe sent out message to Secretary Planning Ministry on Monday who replied that he was outside so he asked this scribe to contact Additional Secretary or Senior Joint Secretary to get the version of the Ministry.

Within a couple of hours, the Ministry of Planning conveyed to this scribe that the member social sector had gone abroad without getting leave. “The competent authority did not sanction her leave,” added the top official.

This scribe also sent out question to Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Jehanzeb Khan for incorporating his viewpoint. In reply, he said she is on a course in Harvard University and is availing herself of leave without pay”.

However, top official sources pointed out that persons employed under MP scales could avail themselves of only earn leaves. In this case, it is leave without pay so the rules don’t debar her, concluded the official sources.

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