ISLAMABAD, Feb 7: Before the political government is dissolved, top bureaucrats want to secure maximum benefits through amendments in rules, and they have justifications too.
Auditor General of Pakistan Mohammad Akhtar Buland Rana has moved a case for making his salary equivalent to that of a Supreme Court judge — a whopping raise of 500 per cent.
Under the existing rules, he is entitled to a salary of a grade 22 officer plus a 20 per cent allowance.
Principal Officer Abdul Wajid Rana, who is working as federal finance secretary, has moved a summary seeking provision of transport monetisation facility for the officers re-employed on contract after retirement.
The officers are currently given cash payments of Rs96,000 per month, instead of official cars. Some 58 officers will benefit greatly if the summary is approved.
Sources said the finance secretary had forwarded a summary with amendments in the monetisation policy to the cabinet division for approval.
Under the existing rules, retired grade-22 officers working on contract are given chauffer-driven official cars while the serving officers in the same grade get Rs96,000 per month as transport allowance provided they give up the facility of official car.
According to record of proceedings of the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly, many grade-22 officers are misusing the monetisation facility by drawing Rs96,000 per month as allowance and also using official cars for personal and family use.
The sources said the auditor general had contended that since the conditions for an AG’s removal were the same as that of Supreme Court judges — that is, through the Supreme Judicial Council — his/her emoluments should be similar to that of the judges.
Article 168 of the Constitution provides for a constitutional position of the auditor general for a term of four years but the article is rather ambiguous regarding the other conditions of service.
Clause 3A of the said article requires that the conditions of service be determined by an act of parliament and, until this is done, by the president.
At present, the auditor general is getting around Rs150,000 per month.
A judge of the Supreme Court is entitled to a salary of about Rs510,000 plus a judicial allowance of Rs235,500.
However, the law secretary, whose salary was stopped a few days ago on an objection raised by the auditor general (who said the secretary’s appointment violated an apex court order), has rejected the summary moved by the latter.
According to the sources, the law secretary raised objections when the demands of the auditor general were forwarded to the law ministry for legal opinion.
The law secretary contended that although the auditor general’s was a constitutional position, the Constitution did not treat his position as equivalent to that of a Supreme Court judge and hence provided for a special financial arrangement that was higher than other grade-22 officers but lower than the apex court judges.
The sources said the ministries of finance and law had now prepared a strong case against the office of auditor general who had blocked the salary of three top officers of the two ministries.
They have argued that the court order barred the government from providing extensions in the same grade to retired officers but did not stop it from rehiring officers.
The sources contended that prima facie the three officers had been discriminated against by the auditor general as there were 58 officers working in top positions on contract but the salary of only three had been stopped.
An officer said the auditor general might have to withdraw objections and release the three officers’ salary.