24 August, 2014 / Shawwal 27, 1435

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Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf. — File photo

ISLAMABAD, Jan 3: The federal government denied in the Supreme Court on Thursday that Azim-ul-Haq Minhas, son-in-law of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, had been appointed executive director of the World Bank in Washington DC.

“The fact of the matter is that Mr Azim-ul-Haq has been appointed as alternate executive director,” said a report submitted to the court by Deputy Attorney General Dil Muhammad Khan Alizai on behalf of the economic affairs and establishment divisions.

The World Bank executive director had made the appointment after accepting the nomination sent to the bank, the report said.

The three-page report was submitted a day ahead of the hearing of the matter by a three-judge bench headed by Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali.

On Dec 19, the court had asked Azim-ul-Haq as well as Establishment Secretary Taimoor Azmat and Finance Secretary Wajid Ali Rana to appear before it on Friday, along with the record and details about the appointment.

The court had taken a suo motu notice of the elevation of Mr Haq when he was tipped for the coveted post by the prime minister by exercising his discretionary powers.  According to media reports, the quick promotion of Mr Haq to the top post in a few years during which he had been elevated from grade-18 to grade-21 has raised many eyebrows and caused heart burning among government officials.

The finance ministry, according to the reports, had opposed the nomination though the summary for his appointment had been moved by the Economic Affairs Division.

Azim-ul-Haq, an officer of the Income Tax Group, was working in grade-18 when the PPP came to power in March 2008. He quit the job and was hired by the Employees Old-age Benefit Institution (EOBI) in grade-20 about two years ago.

Soon after Raja Ashraf assumed the PM’s office, Mr Haq was promoted to grade-21. Since then he has been serving in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat as additional secretary.

The government report further clarified that the government of Pakistan, including the prime minister, had no role in the appointment which had been made by the World Bank and Mr Haq assumed the charge after all necessary formalities had been completed. The report dismissed as unfounded the allegations that Mr Haq’s appointment would create embarrassment for the country. A summary was sent to the prime minister by the Economic Affairs Division on Nov 26, 2012, which suggested that the Establishment Division might submit a panel of suitable officers for the post of alternate executive director of the World Bank for consideration by the competent authority.

Accordingly, the report said, the Establishment Division had proposed a panel of four qualified officers, including Azim-ul-Haq, and the competent authority approved his nomination.—Staff Reporter

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