PESHAWAR: The official apathy coupled with bureaucratic indecision has lingered the process of appointing 55 junior clerks in the provincial government departments, prompting some senior functionaries to question the delay.

According to officials, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Establishment department has adopted a bureaucratic path that might even risk the selection process.

“The department is unnecessarily involving the chief minister though the matter can be decided at a lower level,” said an official.

The provincial government initiated the process to induct 55 junior clerks in the last quarter of 2013.

Tests were held to fill the BPS-7 posts in November last year, while the interviews were conducted next month.

Since then, the matter has been pending decision even though the department finalised a list of 55 successful candidates.

“From tests to interviews and afterwards, the preparation of the final list of successful candidates, everything has been done in accordance with the law, exercising full transparency,” said an official of the department, allaying the chances of anomalies in the matter.

He, however, admitted the final decision had unnecessarily been delayed.

“This is the way bureaucratic decisions are taken,” said the official when asked about the reasons behind the delay in issuance of appointment letters to the successful candidates.

He said there was nothing specific responsible for the delay except the slowness of the decision-making process.

Not all officials accept the notion.

An official in the know told Dawn that after preparing the merit list, the senior authorities put the matter on hold citing problems at the hands of some unsuccessful candidates.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and its partners in the provincial coalition government have been assuring the people since coming to power that they would uphold merit and ensure transparency in appointments to the government departments.

However, they have not been able to deliver on the promise as the practice of making politically-motivated appointments in the province’s public sector continues to be the norm.

The delay in the appointment of the 55 successful candidates has not gone well with the official circles as well.

“This is not the way to decide official matters,” said the official, adding that the department should not have delayed the decision.

Initially, the Establishment Department, said an official, showed restrain to issue the appointment letters because of perceived reaction from some of the unsuccessful candidates. Now, according to officials, the department has decided to refer the matter to the chief minister, who, said more than one official, had got nothing to do with taking the decision to appoint the clerks.

According to the prescribed provincial government rules, said an official, the decision making authority to induct junior clerks rested with the administrative secretary of the establishment department.

“This (forwarding the file to the chief minister) is unnecessary and uncalled for,” said an official.

He said what would the department do if the chief minister asked for making changes to the final list? In such a scenario the department won’t have many choices but to please the provincial chief executive.

However, another official rejected the perceived threat.

“This is not going to happen, everything will be done in accordance with the law and in line with the merit list,” he said.

The official added the tests and interviews were held in a transparent manner and the remaining process would also be in adherence to the law, ensuring transparency.

According to sources, the secretary of the establishment department is legally authorised to issue the appointment letters after the selection process was done in accordance with the rules.

“This amounts to jeopardising the whole process,” said an official.

According to some lower staff of the provincial government, the senior bureaucrats have not taken note that the delay would be causing unrest and anxiety among successful candidates.

“They (the candidates) belong to the lower income groups and there are many, who have the master’s degrees with first division,” said an official.

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