ISLAMABAD: With less than 33 days left of its tenure, the PPP-led coalition government has posted 41 trade ministers, commercial counsellors and commercial secretaries to 36 countries, including the US and Russia.
In a decision that has surprised the concerned quarters in bureaucracy, the choicest postings in the western and industrialised countries have gone to officers from the district management group (DMG) while those having experience and training in the field have been posted at missions in developing countries.
DMG officers have been posted in Washington, Moscow, Sydney, Chicago, The Hague and Jeddah.
Officers from the audit and account and income tax groups are second and third in the row as they have secured postings in Hong Kong, Seoul, Rome, Paris, Riyadh and Berlin.
The officers of these groups lack experience to deal with trade-related issues.
The screening of the officials was conducted through a test held on Oct 6 last year. The threshold of marks obtained by the candidates for passing the test was lowered to 40 per cent from the earlier 60pc ‘to accommodate those nominated on political basis’.
As many as 206 candidates passed the tests, including those from the private sector.
According to the summary about the postings, six trade ministers/counsellors have been posted in six countries. Of these four slots were given to the officials from the DMG and one each to audit and account and commerce and trade groups.
The DMG officers include Abdul Aziz Uqaili, posted in Sydney, Capt (retd) Khurram Agha (Washington), Fawad Hassan Fawad (Kandahar) and Hamed Yaqoob Sheikh (Moscow).
Audit and account group official Abdul Ghufran Memon has been posted in Hong Kong and Dr Safdar Suhail of commerce and trade group in Brussels.
The 21 officials posted as commercial counsellors in 20 countries include six from commerce and trade group, four from DMG, three from customs, three from audit, two from secretariat and three from income tax group.
The officials from commerce and trade groups include Dr Nazim Latif, posted in Bangkok, Dr Saeed Qadir Mangi (Dubai), Muhammad Naseer (Osaka), Riaz Ahmed Sheikh (Beijing), Aisha Makhdum (Stockholm) and Shehzad Ahmed Khan (Tokyo).The DMG officers appointed as commercial counsellors include Abdul Wahab Soomro, who has been posted in Jeddah, Sheryar Taj (Nairobi), Zahid Akhtar Zaman (Chicago) and Zahid Ali Abbassi (The Hague).
The income tax officials made commercial counsellors include Ambreen Iftikhar, posted in Paris, Erfa Iqbal (New York) and Khurshid Ahmed Khan Marwat (Kabul). Officers from customs group include Faiz Ahmed, posted in Madrid, Muhammad Junaid Jalil Khan (Mexico City) and Seema Raza Bukhari (London).The officials from the audit group include Aamir Nazir Gondal, posted in Seoul, Farid Ahmed Tarar (Rome) and Muhammad Aslam Choudhry (Buenos Aires). Amir Mohyuddin, posted in Tehran, Azra Jamali (Prague) and Syed Zakariya Shah (Casablanca) belong to the secretariat group.
Of the 14 commercial secretaries, six are from the customs group, four from the commerce and trade group, two from the income tax group and one each from the audit group and private sector.
The officials from the customs group include Agha Saeed Ahmed, posted in Port Louis, Farah Farooq (Dhaka), Habib Ahmed (Abu Dhabi), Muhammad Saqif Saeed (Vancouver); Basit Maqsood Abbasi (Lagos) and Arbab Qaiser Hamid (Cairo).The commerce and trade group officials are Adil Khan Miankhel, posted in Astana, Maria Kazi (Jakarta), Qamar Zaman (Johannesburg) and Rizwan Tariq (Geneva).
Officers of the income tax group include Waseem Hayat Bajwa, posted at Riyadh, and Ijlal Ahmed Khattak (Berlin). Muhammad Amir Thaheem from the private sector has been posted in Manchester and Muhammad Nasim Rashid of audit group in Baku.