Saturday, June 2, 2012

Gilgit-Baltistan, the next slaughter house for merit

ISLAMABAD: In a unique case of murder of merit, government non-papers, which are never made part of the official record, show why the most eligible candidates are deprived of their right to get official jobs in the federal government under Gilani’s misrule.

Official documents and some of these government non-papers available with The News show how callously the federal government had annulled the process of appointments in an official department merely because those who had passed the written test and got the top positions were not the blue-eyed boys of political masters.

Such ruthless is the murder of merit in government appointments that against 50 posts up to BPS-16 level, the list of favourites contained 63 names, thus leaving no chance for even one single appointment on merit.

Smelling a rat, the officer concerned, who was to make the appointments or recommend the same, timely got the results of the tests displayed on department’s noticeboard for public but the political master came with a final blow — annul the recruitment process for initiation of a fresh process and remove the officer, who tried to be smart to uphold merit.

Adding insult to injury, this is all happening in the newly-established Gilgit-Baltistan Secretariat in Islamabad and those aspiring to get their favourites appointed include Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Manzoor Wattoo, Member GB Council Saeed Afzal, Advisers to Chairman GB Council Attaullah Khan, Ghulam Hussain Saleem and Wazir Ibadat Ali, and Chairman PAC GB Council Mohammad Ibrahim.

The non-papers show Manzoor Wattoo recommended the names of 40 favourites, mostly from Okara, for their appointment but it could not happen thus resulting in the annulment of the recruitment process.

Non-papers, which are available with the deputy secretary and joint secretary administration of the council secretariat, are not part of the official record but one of these papers contains addition of another name of a favourite by Minister Wattoo in his own hand writing.

The official documents, however, presented a convincing justification for annulling the recruitment process but here too the minister, while approving the recommendation of annulling the recruitment process, smartly ignored the secretary’s proposal that recruitment should not be made against those positions that would be of no use for the next three years.

The re-initiation of the recruitment process afresh would not include new advertisements but would fill all the posts including those which would be of no use for the next three years.In his note, the minister wrote, “Recommendations to the extent of annulment is approved. Recruiting exercise may be taken. Recruitment process may be started afresh.”

According to the official documents, the results of written tests were announced in April 2012 but once the interested parties found the names of their favourites missing from the merit list of successful candidates, the process of annulment started on May 2 and concluded positively on May 5, 2012.

Everybody, even the secretary, endorsed the file that the recruitment process was transparent and merit-based but the council secretariat got a request from the GB chief minister on May 1, asking for the initiation of recruitment process afresh.

The PAC Chairman, Muhammad Ibrahim, Adviser to Chairman GB Council Prof Ghulam Hussain Saleem and Member Council Saeed Afzal, all three who had recommended the appointment of their favourites as reflected in the non-papers, also approached the minister on May 2 and May 3 with the demand that the written test be annulled as the maximum possible number of applicants could not take the tests because of the law and order situation and other reasons. It was also said that the candidates of GB were unable to appear in the tests.

After receiving these objections, the concerned Joint Secretary GBC Shakil Malik wrote on the file: “(para 35 of the official file) 35. The chief minister Gilgit-Baltistan has stated that a large number of candidates of Gilgit-Baltistan approached him regarding late receipt of call letter. They could not appear in written test due to prevailing law and order situation and uncertain weather conditions. He proposed that ongoing recruitment process may be cancelled and started afresh.

“Similarly, Professor Ghulam Hussain Saleem, Adviser, and Muhammad Ibrahim, Chairman PAC, have also stated that Baltistan region has totally been ignored as candidates from Baltistan could not reach for written test due to non receipt of call letters in time and law and order situation.”

In para 37 of the official file, Shakil clearly wrote: “Probably worthy members and the honourable chief minister have names of some particular candidates in their minds who could not succeed.” In his note, Shakil Malik initially erroneously (because of clerical staff mistake) mentioned that the candidates appearing from the GB were 36 percent of total 571 candidates from the GB but before the annulment order of the minister, a fresh note was moved and the staff of the minister was informed as well that the candidates who had appeared for the test were not 36 percent but 72 percent. But still the written test was annulled for obvious reasons.

The official file, while regretting the earlier mistake, conveyed to the secretary of the GB Council Secretariat the exact figures of those who had applied and those who had appeared in the exam. The file also mentioned that Zafar, a staff of Manzoor Wattoo, has been given the aforesaid figures on telephone. However, still the written tests were annulled.

Now the secretariat is working on fresh recruitment process from written tests without realising how all such candidates would appear again after knowing the fate of their written test. “Only political appointees would appear,” a GBC Secretariat official said, adding they had to now issue call letters to the same candidates whose written tests were conducted earlier and merit based short-listing was done for the interviews.

“Even if a fresh process is to be started, it should have been with fresh advertisement giving one month notice as provided in the recruitment policy,” the official source said but feared that seeing Shakil Malik removed from the post of joint secretary after his struggle for merit, there is hardly anyone else in the secretariat to offer the next sacrifice for principles.

Manzoor Wattoo was repeatedly approached by The News on all his contact numbers but he neither responded nor replied to any question sent to him through text messages.One Qadeer, personal secretary to Manzoor Wattoo, was approached on Tuesday and was informed regarding questions by a staffer of The News. Qadeer promised that Manzoor Wattoo would call back and will respond but it never happened.

Ansar Abbasi, The News, Friday, June 01, 2012

1 comment:

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