PESHAWAR: An advertisement seeking applications for a key Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly position from the aspirants with low qualifications and virtually zero experience has raised eyebrows.
The assembly secretariat recently advertised the BPS-19 post of special secretary disregarding the required experience and qualifications by asking those with at least second class master’s degree in business or public administration to apply for it.
A senior official told Dawn that the advertisement, which appeared to be tailor-made to recruit some favourite of an influential individual, had caused resentment among senior officials of the assembly secretariat.
Officials oppose direct appointment of special secretary
“For the first time, an inexperienced candidate will be appointed to a regular post in BPS-19,” he said, adding that the move stirred up a controversy with senior officials of the assembly secretariat asking the speaker to fill the post on seniority-cum-fitness basis instead of direct appointment.
The official said a brigade of deputy and additional secretaries in the assembly secretariat having 20 to 24 years experience in parliamentary affairs were bypassed and an inexperienced with only second class master degree would be appointed in BPS-19 directly.
He said during the last couple of years, the assembly remained engaged in continuous litigations due to some illegal appointments and that relevant rules did not allow direct appointment to such a key position.
Awami National Party MPA and former deputy speaker of the provincial assembly Khushdil Khan expressed reservations about the advertisement of the post of special secretary in BPS-19.
In a letter to Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani, the lawmaker said he had some serious reservations about the ‘dubious’ advertisement for the filling of the special secretary’s post.
He said the important post with high perks and privileges was to be filled by promotion or transfer of suitable officer.
“In the provincial secretariat, such posts are filled by promotion or transfer of Provincial Management Services (PMS) officers having high qualification with vast experience in the relevant field.
“It will be ridiculous to make appointment against that very high caliber post with simple second class master’s degree without any experience and other expertise and therefore, initial recruitment may be avoided,” he said in the letter.
Mr Khushdil said the advertisement showed that a government organisation of KP needed filling in the reflected posts instead of mentioning the assembly secretariat.
He said on one hand, the government organisation was an ordinary subordinate body of the provincial government having its own method and procedure of recruitment but on the other, the provincial assembly secretariat was a constitutional body established under Article 87 read with Article 127 of the Constitution.
The lawmaker said it was amazing that in the presence of own ETEA the assembly secretariat had engaged the services of Open Testing Service, Islamabad which was unjustified and mala fide.
He said the post of the special secretary to speaker (BPS-19) was created by the former speaker to absorb Syed Waqar Shah, who was brought in on deputation from the Pakistan International Airlines Corporation.
Mr Khushdil said the absorption order for Waqar Shah was declared illegal, void ab initio, corm non judice by the Peshawar High Court in November 2018.
He said Warqar Shah, a steward in PIA, was appointed by former Speaker Asad Qaisar as the special secretary.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Services Tribunal has held current speaker of the provincial assembly Mushtaq Ghani and his predecessor, Asad Qaisar, responsible for promoting cronyism and nepotism during appointments to the assembly secretariat.
Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2019