ISLAMABAD, June 30: Recent litigation related to the service matter of a number of civilian officials of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) indicated that it is difficult for them to reach even BPS-21 in their entire service.

Because of this, the names of civilian officials cannot even be considered for the post of director general which is a BPS-22 position.

During the last few months, three petitions were filed with the Islamabad High Court (IHC) by the civilian officials of the spying agency. One of the petitions filed by about 30 officials stated that sometimes an official gets only one-time promotion during his entire 25 years of service.

The petitioners said the slow process of promotion was also an obstacle to reaching BPS-21, which was the last stage of promotion for the civilian officials of the agency.

One of the petitioners said had there been a good number of BPS-21 civilian officials in the agency, they would have approached the court for getting into BPS-22.”

He referred to a petition filed by Junaid Qureshi of Pakistan Railways, where the last promotion grade was also BPS-21. On the petition of Mr Qureshi, the IHC last year ordered the Establishment Division to consider his promotion to BPS-22.

According to documents available with Dawn, 325 officers are working in BPS-17 to 21 in the five different cadres of the ISI.

Out of the 325, only one officer enjoys BPS-21. Seven others are in BPS-20 and are working as deputy directors general. Besides, there are 61 directors in BPS-19.

It may be recalled that in July last year Senator Farahatullah Babar had moved a private bill in the upper house suggesting appointment of a civilian director general in BPS-22 in the ISI. The bill aimed at making the ISI answerable to the government in general and the parliament in particular.

The bill provided for a director general who shall be a serving or retired civil servant in BPS-22 or of an equivalent rank in the armed forces to be appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister.

It has been learnt that though the bill was not even seriously taken up by the Senate, it did not go down well with the military authorities.

A source said the appointment of a “serving or retired civil servant in BPS-22” from outside was unacceptable for both the civilian and military officials of the ISI.

“Had the bill introduced a mechanism for the civilian control of the ISI from within the organisation it would have been acceptable for those running the agency,” the source claimed.

Lt-General (retired) Talat Masood said despite being a civilian organisation, there was hardly any oversight of the civilian governments over the ISI.

He, however, said the smooth transition of power from the PPP to the PML-N had changed the situation and the incumbent PML-N government could take initiative for bringing civilian supremacy to the institution.

A military spokesman, when contacted, refrained from commenting on the issue, saying it was a policy matter.

An ISI spokesman, however, said the spy agency was functioning in accordance with the prescribed rules while the promotions and transfers of the civilian officials were being done in accordance with the law.

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