PESHAWAR, Feb 1: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has restored more than 4,000 civil servants, who were sacked by the second Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government in the province after declaring them redundant, officials say.

The restoration of their services has come after the Election Commission of Pakistan’s ban on ‘all kinds of recruitments’ in the public sector, according to official documents available with Dawn.

“The provincial authorities are of the view that the decision to restore their services had been taken much before the Election Commission’s decision, banning the new recruitments,” said an official.

However, according to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Establishment Department’s appointment letter, in one particular case, the restored employee, who has been appointed against a BPS-07 post, has been informed that his appointment ‘shall be considered as fresh appointment.’

A difference of opinion prevails among the official circles contacted by Dawn to ascertain their opinion about the ‘fresh’ appointments following the Election Commission’s recently imposed restrictions on recruitments in the public sector entities.

Defending the provincial government’s move to issue appointment letter to the restored employees, a well-placed official said the election commission’s instructions did not stand violated because the decision to restore the employees had been taken by the provincial government back in November 2011.

Another official saw the execution of the decision as in negation of the election commission’s instructions.

In an official notification dated January 24, 2013, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Delimitation Authority, Local Government and Rural Development Department informed all the administrative secretaries, inspector general of police, all the divisional commissioners, and deputy commissioners that “all kind of recruitments in any Ministry, Division, Department or Institution of the federal government or any department or institution of any provincial and local governments is banned forthwith except recruitments by the federal or a provincial service commission.”

In view of the above mentioned instructions, added an official, the sacked employees could not be reemployed.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Establishment department issued an appointment letter on January 29, 2013, and informed the reappointment employee concerned that “...your appointment shall be considered as fresh appointment,” making some circles to believe that this appears to a clear violation of the election commission’s instructions.

A knowledgeable official said that the department has issued identical appointment letters to around a dozen employees reappointed against BPS-07 posts.

“Other departments, too, are in the process of reemploying all those employees who had been sacked by the PML-N government,” said the official. Their number totals more than 4500, according to sources.

According to the government’s decision, the freshly appointed employees would not be entitled to pension, seniority or promotion or other back benefits.

The Establishment department’s letter issued to a particular BPS-7 employee contains that “you will not be entitled to any claim of seniority, promotion or other back benefits and your appointment shall be considered as fresh appointment.”Furthermore, the subject employee has been informed, under his appointment letter, that “you will for all intents and purposes be civil servant except for the purpose of pension and gratuity, you shall be entitled to receive such amount as would be contributed by you towards Contributory Provident Fund along with the contributions made by government to your account in the said fund in the prescribed manner.”

The fresh appointments, according to the document, have been made initially for a period of one year extendable for further period of one year.

The move to reappoint thousands of employees has been seen by political observers as an attempt on the part of the provincial government to lure a maximum number of voters ahead of the next general elections.

As per the government's decision, the sacked employees have been reemployed on temporary basis as according to an appointment letter, the reappointed employee concerned has been informed that “your appointment is on temporary and liable to be terminated at any time without assigning any reason before the expiry of the period of probation/extended period of probation, if your performance during this period is not found satisfactory.”

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