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President Asif Ali Zardari. — File
President Asif Ali Zardari. — File

ISLAMABAD, May 23: A few days before transfer of power from the caretaker government to elected representatives, President Asif Ali Zardari has made an attempt to secure the jobs of more than 10,000 civil servants whose ministries have been devolved to provinces after the 18th Amendment in the constitution.

“President Zardari, on the advice of the prime minister, on Thursday approved promulgation of Civil Servants (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013, thus making all employees of the devolved ministries permanent civil servants in the organisations to which they were transferred and are presently working,” said his spokesman, Farhatullah Babar.

After devolution of their ministries these federal government employees had became surplus and adjusted in other federal and provincial government departments, but their fate was hanging in the balance before promulgation of the ordinance.

However, the time limit of a presidential ordinance is 120 days and after expiry of the ordinance it would be up to the new government to further approve it or not. After the 18th Amendment in the constitution once an ordinance lapses, it cannot be re-promulgated by the president and it has to be passed by any of house of the parliament.

The ordinance said that due to abolition of the Concurrent List as a result of the 18th Amendment, devolution of subjects to provinces and reorganisation of federal secretariat, around 10,000 civil servants of 17 devolved ministries/divisions/departments and offices were adjusted in federal and provincial governments on deputation basis under section 10 of the Civil Servants Act, 1973. However, these employees are yet to be absorbed on permanent basis.

The Implementation Commission, constituted under the 18th Amendment, prepared draft legislations for amendments to the Federal Civil Servants Act of 1973 and respective Provincial Civil Servants Act. However, the legislations could not be finalised till the end of tenure of Implementation Commission on July 1, 2011.

Later the Inter Provincial Coordination Division, on the advice of the Establishment Division forwarded draft legislation to the Law & Justice Division on July 11 last year for placement before the high-powered committee to review federal laws in the post devolution scenario, but the approval process by the committee got delayed. During this period the employees of the devolved ministries/divisions/organisations and offices continued agitating the issue on different forums and some of them filed petitions in superior courts.

Mr Babar said in one such petition, the Islamabad High Court directed the respondents to take all remedial steps to undo the wrong and redress the grievance of petitioners (employees).

“Accordingly with a view to redress the issue of the employees and to comply with the court’s directives, amendments have been made in Section 3 of the Civil Act, 1973 through this Ordinance,” he said.