ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved the appointment of 47 trade officers for posting in Pakistan’s missions abroad who will be tasked with promoting exports and foreign direct investment in approximately 40 countries.

For the first time, the government has also appointed two overseas Pakistanis for the posts of trade officers as part of the new policy. Under the new policy, government allocated 20 per cent quota for overseas Pakistanis for posting as trade officers in Pakistan missions abroad.

The postings were made against the posts which fell vacant following the completion of tenure. These officers were appointed in the year 2015.

The annual cost of these postings is estimated at approximately Rs2 billion. Last time, the policy for posting of trade officers was changed in 2013. The policy introduced some measures to ensure merit.

As per approved posting of nine BPS-20 officers, Muhammad Ashraf has been appointed and posted at Sydney, Bilal Ahmed Butt at Hong Kong, Hussain Haider at Shanghai, Azmat Mahmood Khan at Washington, Fouzia Perveen Chaudhry at Jakarta, Azhar Ali Dahar at Riyadh, Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh at New Delhi and Munir Sadiq at Addis Ababa, respectively.

Under the overseas Pakistani quota, Ahmed Mukhtar was appointed and posted at Brussels.

The premier has approved the appointment and posting of 29 officers of BPS-19 at various stations. These include posting of Arif Aziz at Los Angeles, Shafiq Ahmed Sheikh at London, Talat Mehmood at New York, Rizwan ul Haq at the Hague, Khalid Hanif at Rome, Ahmed Affan at Madrid, Majeed Mohsin Panhwar at Geneva, Muhammad Zahid at Warsaw, Azhar Hussain at Tehran, Tahir Habib Cheema at Tokyo, Zahid Hussain Abbasi at ECO Tehran, Ghulam Mustafa at Stockholm, Muhammad Farrukh Sharif at Bangkok, Syed Abdul Waheed Shah Jeddha, Muhammad Iran at Guangzhou, Shafqat Ali Khan at Kuala Lumpur, Imran Razzad at Seoul, Muhammad Farooque at Almaty, Yousaf Ali Magsi at Beunos Aires, Junaid Ahmed Memon at Casablanca, Addem Khan at Dubai, Waqas Alam at Sau Paulo, Ahabana Aziz at Mexico city, Liaqat Daraz at Nairobi, Muhammad Qazafi Rind at Algeria, and Masood Ahmed at Khartoum.

Under the overseas Pakistani policy, Sakina Hussain has been appointed and posted at Toronto.

Under the BS-18, the government has appointed and posted nine officers at various stations. These include appointment and posting of Shaista Bunyad at Houston, Muhammad Akhtar at Manchester, Humaira Israr at Johannesburg, Asmma Kamal at Colombo, Sidra Haque at Cairo, Ali Qayyum Raja at Hanoi, Khadim Ali at Amman, Muhammad Shoaib Anwar at Dakar and Muhammad Owais Khan at Lagos.

For the first time, the government has introduced the concept of a waiting list. Those officers who will not join their stations will be replaced by those who are on top of the merit list.

These officers were appointed through a written test conducted by IBA and followed by a comprehensive interview.

It may be recalled that PM Khan had directed the Ministry of Commerce to revamp the entire system of appointing trade officers who are posted abroad to promote trade and commercial interests of the country. The new policy focuses on transparent and merit-based selection of the trade officers inculcating market diversification, involvement of Pakistani diaspora, rationalising the expenditure, broad-based monitoring and performance evaluation and automation of the processes.

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2019