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January 6, 2021

Red Crescent head creates posts to hire his aides

Top Story

January 6, 2021

LAHORE: Pakistan Red Crescent Society Chairman Abrarul Haq has appointed his close aides, who previously worked with him, to especially created posts in the charity organisation.

Jibran Khan, an entrepreneur at Beyond Studios/Beyond Records, has been hired as social media adviser to the PRCS chairman for a monthly salary of Rs150,000. Previously, it was the duties of the communication department to look after the activities without any additional incentives. According to available documents, Jibran Khan runs a production company in the name of Beyond Studios which specialises in music videos, commercials and audio production. It is the company with which Abrarul Haq had signed a music production agreement on March 26, 2018, under the label "Beyond Records". Additionally, 10 paid volunteers are also engaged by Jibran Khan to help him perform his duties.

Sources alleged the social media advisers had been hired without following the PPRA rules and they could not make a huge difference in terms of social media campaigns even after getting huge amounts every month. Social media experts in the market believe that a 150,000 monthly budget could have created a much better result in terms of campaigning and outreach. However, no major achievement could be seen in the last five months as the YouTube channel of the organisation, which was created five months ago, has only 40 subscribers.

Hammad Malik has been with Abrarul Haq since day one. He is doing multiple jobs. At the PRCS, he works as Personal Assistant to the Chairman. He also works as General Manager at Pakistan Sweet Homes, being run by PPP leader Zamurd Khan. At the same time, he is Secretary General at the Youth Parliament of Pakistan, a personal venture headed by Abrarul Haq.

The PRCS rules were also allegedly violated in his hiring process. The rules say anybody working at the PRCS cannot engage in another job or business. He has been GM at the Sweet Homes while already working in the PRCS since January last year.

His Facebook activity shows he has been actively managing day-to-day activities of the Sweet Homes and running PRCS affairs in parallel.

When contacted, PRCS Chairman Abrarul Haq defended the appointments and said, "After taking charge a chairman, I noticed mismanagement, inefficient use of resources, nepotism and malpractices in the organisation.

Former Acting Secretary General Khalid bin Majeed was behind all corruption and nepotism; he was misusing his power and bending the rules for his personal gains. Meanwhile, Covid-19 struck and it was necessary to form a team consisting of professionals to immediately control corruption and nepotism. Advisers were hired as per the existing policy and according to their profiles with nominal benefits so that they could rectify malpractices in the organisation.

After hard work by the advisers, unprecedented Rs130 million funds were collected by the Resource Mobilisation Department which did not exist before. A corona hospital was established in record 15 days and it was done by both paid and unpaid advisers. During the overhaul, right procedures and policies were adopted as per best practices. An audit is also in progress to identify gaps in the procedures and processes of the organisation."

He said, "Hammad Malik was hired through a competitive process and the post was advertised in newspapers. An interview panel conducted numerous interviews and he was selected purely on merit as per the HR policy.

After joining the PRCS, Hammad resigned from the Sweet Homes and did not draw any salary from it and an NOC was duly submitted to the PRCS HR Department.

The social media adviser was also appointed on merit and as per HR policy and procedure, he not only established the social media department but also set up a YouTube channel and revived social media pages of the organisation. Besides, he saved huge money for the organisation by extending his expertise in the production of promotional campaigns and ads."

When contacted, Khalid bin Majeed, the PRCS secretary general, who has been suspended after suicide by a PRCS employee, said that no adviser could use the perks as per policy.

"All people were hired after the establishment of the corona care hospital when the first phase of Covid-19 in Pakistan had already subsided. All funding for the hospital and other Covid-19 operations was arranged by me as secretary general of the PRCS. Due to my matchless contribution and professionalism during my 18 years of service at the PRCS, I was selected as co-chair of a global body for Covid-19 vaccination,” he said.

Khalid also rejected the allegations of corruption, nepotism and mismanagement and said, “I was the only person who would resist such attempts by the "politically appointed leadership" of the PRCS. I have been working with Abrarul Haq for almost a year. Had he any evidence of corruption, nepotism and mismanagement, why didn’t he raise the issue before the PRCS Managing Board which was functional until September 10, 2020?”

He claimed he had documentary evidence against those who have been involved in corruption, nepotism and misuse of power and resources at the PRCS and how the politically appointed chairman was involved in character assassination and harassment of the work force through his hand-picked advisers.

He said that heavily paid advisers had never been engaged by any chairman in the past.

As per practice in the past, advisers were appointed on an honorary basis or against budgeted programme posts only. However, now advisers are costing almost over a million per month to the charity organisation.

The appointments were made along with the regular staff who were already working in relevant departments. In September last year, Abrarul Haq, in a tweet, had vehemently denied remarks by PML-N MPA Hina Pervez Butt for the appointment of "blue-eyed" people.