No action over Fata Tribunal illegal appointments

Updated 15 Dec 2019

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The defunct Fata was ill-famed for illegal and unauthorised appointments. — Dawn/File
The defunct Fata was ill-famed for illegal and unauthorised appointments. — Dawn/File

PESHAWAR: A probe committee’s report regarding ‘illegal appointments’ in the defunct Fata Tribunal that was referred to the establishment department for necessary action has apparently been swept under the carpet, sources said.

The two-member panel on the direction of the secretary of the home and tribal affairs department had probed the appointment of 24 employees from Grade 1 to Grade 15 in the erstwhile Fata Tribunal.

The committee was constituted in June 2019 to fix responsibility for the illegality.

Sources in the secretariat for seven merged tribal districts confided to Dawn that the inquiry report was sent to the establishment department around two months ago.

However, senior officials in the department expressed ignorance about the report.

“Better check the status of the report with the home and tribal affairs department,” an official concerned told Dawn.

Probe committee sent report to establishment dept two months ago

The defunct Fata was ill-famed for illegal and unauthorised appointments.

In Oct this year, the elementary and secondary education department had terminated the services of 104 teachers and other employees in the merged districts for securing job on fake degrees or absenting themselves from duty for long time over the last two decades.

Appointments to the Fata Tribunal were made when it ceased functions in the wake of the merger of tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in June 2018. The tribunal functioned as the final judicial forum for the defunct tribal agencies.

The probe committee found that all orders for appointment to the posts of four moharrars and assistants, three KPOs, four junior clerks, four drivers, six naib qasid and three chowkidars issued by the registrar of the former Fata Tribunal were illegal.

“No official record of the process is available in the former Fata Tribunal except advertisement. All record provided to the inquiry committee is freshly printed and signed by the registrar. No office copy was maintained,” the committee declared in its report.

The documents show that the committee recommended that the appointment order for 24 officials be cancelled ab initio, while disciplinary action under the Efficiency and Discipline Rule be initiated against the registrar of the Fata Tribunal, who still held his office.

The report also said a committee comprising financial experts might be constituted for thorough investigation into the affairs of the B & A sections of the law and order department for the period from Jan 8, 2019, to June 30, 2019.

The inquiry was initiated on a written compliant of an employee of the law and order department of the defunct Fata secretariat, who was not regularised despite working as the driver on a contractual basis for 10 years.

The registrar of the tribunal told the probe committee that 24 appointees were either relatives of some officials of the defunct tribunal or recommended by the officers of ex-Fata secretariat and some influential politicians.

“The registrar also disclosed the name of a provincial minister, who recommended his people for appointment,” a source said while refusing to disclose the name.

The report said those posts were advertised in two newspapers but there was no order or notification of any authority, which authorised an officer of the tribunal for appointment to the vacant posts in the defunct body.

According to the report, the registrar did not have powers to advertise posts and recruit employees from Grade 1 to Grade 15 as the defunct tribunal did not have service rules.

“It is clear that the posts were advertised without the approval of the competent authority i.e. the law and order secretary. The registrar was not competent and authorised to accord approval to such advertisement,” said the seven-page report.

The committee found that on one hand, the short-listing committee’s notification was unlawful as the registrar was not empowered to notify, order or constitute such body and on the other, two members of the committee were daily-wage clerks of the ex-Fata Tribunal and one was a project employee of the ‘Establishment of Levy Training Centre, Shahkass, Khyber tribal district’.

It added that the contract of the tribunal chairman and member was not extended after the tribal areas were merged with the province, so there was no need to fill these posts.

Published in Dawn, December 15th, 2019