PESHAWAR: Political influence by a strongman of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has led to the creation of 110 posts in the civil administrative setup of Nowshera, the home district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, according to officials.

Officials in the know told Dawn that Chief Minister Khattak’s son produced the ‘magic push’ to make the provincial finance department sanction the posts for which the Nowshera district’s deputy commissioner moved a letter on January 20, 2014.

“The younger Khattak personally came to the finance department to get the job done,” said an official.

Another official confirmed Ishaq Khattak’s involvement in the matter.

However, Shiraz Paracha, spokesman for the chief minister, rejected the information.

“We deny that the chief minister’s son has been instrumental in the creation of the posts,” he said.

Mr Paracha said the posts had been sanctioned but had not been filled yet.

“The appointments (to the sanctioned posts) will be made on merit and in line with the official recruitment policy,” he insisted.

The officials said the provincial finance department had put its feet on the matter only to appear to be a lame duck when the political influence came.

The sanction letter states: “in pursuant to the approval of the Competent Authority, Finance Department, agrees to create the 110 number posts of different categories in the Office of Deputy Commissioner, Nowshera as per detail…subject to observation of all ‘codal’ formalities required under the rules with immediate effect.”

Among the sanctioned positions are 17 posts of computer operators (BPS-12), three posts of senior clerks (BPS-9), 11 posts of junior clerks (BPS-7), seven posts of moharrars (BPS-5), five posts of readers (BPS-5), two posts of drivers (BPS-2), 16 posts of naib qasids (BPS-1), two posts of record lifter (BPS-1), 15 posts of daak runners (BPS-1), 23 posts of watchmen (BPS-1), two posts of gardeners (BPS-1) and seven posts of sweepers (BPS-1).

The finance department will provide Rs10.14 million to the DC office as ‘sanctioned budge grant’ for payment of salary and allowances for the financial year 2013-14. The expenditure requirements for the next fiscal will be higher when funds are provided.

An official privy to the recruitment process told Dawn that the 62 class-IV posts (BPS-1) would be filled on the recommendations of politicians in power from Nowshera district.

Nowshera, the home district of the chief minister, has five provincial assembly constituencies, which all were bagged by PTI in the May 11 general elections.

“The posts of BPS-5 and above will be filled after they’re advertised, whereas the class-IV employees will be inducted on the recommendations of the MPAs,” said the official.

He said the class-IV appointments had always been made on ‘political basis’.

“The class-IV posts are not required to be publicised for invitation of applications,” said the official, adding that the authorities would receive thousands of applications if the said positions were advertised.

“This will not be feasible,” said the official, justifying political appointments.

He said the posts could not have been created without the personal interest of the political figures from the district.

“Who cares in the finance department about the much needed creation of the posts in the DC office,” said the official.

According to the sources, a summary in this regard had been routed to the finance department through the Provincial Board of Revenue with the due approval of the senior member of the board.

In background interviews with Dawn, none of the functionaries privy to the matter could answer when asked that if so many posts were needed, then how did the DC office do its functions and what was the need to induct 15 daak runners, 23 watchmen, and 16 naib qasids?

When contacted, deputy commissioner of Nowshera district Zakaullah Khattak justified the creation of the posts.

“The DC office was understaffed and a request for the creation of the posts had also been made in the past, too,” he said.

The deputy commissioner said five posts of additional assistant commissioners had been created in the DC office without providing the subordinate staff to assist the AACs.

“We don’t have the required number of sweepers and watchmen, making us engage employees of the union councils on makeshift basis,” he said.

The deputy commissioner, however, rejected that the class-IV posts were being filled by issuing appointment letters by a single individual.

“All appointments will be made by adhering to the official induction criteria,” he said.

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