ISLAMABAD, March 28: In the last week in power, the PPP government took advantage of recent protests by educational staff and a 2008 Supreme Court ruling to induct over 1,000 party loyalists and favourites as teaching and non-teaching employees.
Five years ago, the apex court had ruled that teachers who had been serving for a long period of time as daily-wagers should be regularised.
In December 2012, according to Sadaqat Abbasi, chairman of the Joint Action Committee of the Non-Teaching Staff Association, CAD sent a list of 844 teaching and non-teaching employees to the Ministry of Finance and the Cabinet Division for regularisation.
Recently, however, Abbasi learned that "in the last week of the government's tenure, a total of 2,024 employees were appointed." Over 1,000 of these employees, Abbasi said, were directly appointed by the government, including 65 who allegedly belonged to the former minister's constituency.
"People who have been working for three or four years are still waiting to be regularised," Abbasi continued, "and some of these direct appointees are people who never joined any educational institution."
On March 12, many of the appointees received letters instructing them to have a medical examination conducted by the Central Medical Board, which is a prerequisite for joining the service.
"If the medical examination letter has been issued, the candidate has been appointed," a CAD officer said. Requesting anonymity, he added that many of the "party jiyalas" had also received fake records from CAD and the Federal Directorate of Education. Meanwhile, a recent protest by 70 long-serving daily-wagers who had been passed over for regularisation was "hushed up."
Shahid Khan, the FDE's director administration, maintained that "all employees had been appointed subject to the availability of posts."
Acknowledging that "there were no posts available for all the inductees," he said the Establishment Division could create new posts and that once other employees retire, there would be more available.
"The important thing is that now it will be impossible to terminate any employee's service," he said, "because they can go to court and get a stay order. This way, the FDE and CAD will allow them to work until posts are created."
Though the ministry and the FDE have cited the Supreme Court's ruling as a basis for the appointments, others accuse them of injustice and unfairness. Tahir Mehmood, president of the Federal Government College Teachers Association, called the process "mala fide regularisation."
"The caretaker government must hold an inquiry and revert this process," he said, adding the FGCTA would protest until justice was upheld.
"We are trying to get information on all the newly regularised employees who do not fulfil the Supreme Court's criteria. We will collaborate with the Non-Teaching Staff Association to stop these politically-appointed staff from joining educational institutions."
The corruption may, however, run beyond the ministry itself. Another CAD official, saying that "many genuine daily-wagers were deprived of regularisation because the ministry wanted to induct political workers," blamed not just the former minister but also another "notorious official."
"A former director general of the FDE, who was sacked because he was a 3rd division graduate, played a part in this," the officer insisted. "He helped as an external broker, lining up clients to be regularised even though they had no previous service record."
Many, including FGCTA general secretary Deedar Ali Baloch, worried over the possible impact on educational institutions and the education system. A CAD official, however, likened it to the "collapse" seen in many state institutions.
"Fake recruitment policies have destroyed law enforcement agencies, the civil administration, PIA and economic institutions," he said. While all these institutions had been weakened by favoritism and patronage, "when the education system is tarnished this way, that's when we'll see the worst consequences. This is where the future of the nation comes from."