RAHIM YAR KHAN: The Shaikh Zayed Medical College Hospital (SZMCH) administration has ignored the instructions of the Punjab cabinet’s standing committee on finance and development to sack as many as 88 BS-16 to BS-18 employees appointed illegally during the last 15 years and take action against those involved in the illegality.

The cabinet committee had issued the instructions in its 57th meeting held on April 15, 2021, recommending action against all the principals and finance directors responsible for these appointments made against rules and regulations causing loss to state exchequer.

But, despite the passage of more than 40 days, the SZMCH administration has not implemented these clear instructions of the standing committee.

According to sources in the SZMCH, principals, including Prof Dr Abdul Karim, Prof Dr Muhammad Saeed, Prof Dr Mubarak Ali Chaudhry and Prof Dr Zafar Hussain Tanvir, besides finance directors Noor Tariq and Abdul Hakim Anjum allegedly misused their powers while making these “illegal” appointments.

They said that recently, Principal Prof Dr Tariq Ahmed and finance directors Nadeem Sohail and Khurshid Ahmed also released the salaries to these 88 employees following year-long protest by different staff associations of the SZMCH, demanding their regularisation and release of their salaries.

They said the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Multan was also holding an inquiry into the matter on the complaint of a citizen.

The standing committee also suggested that 384 out of 846 employees who were appointed against the Special Drawing Account (SDA) seats, allegedly in violation of rules and regulations, would also be returned. It further suggested that the 141 sanitary and security workers recruited against seats created by SZMCH Board Of Management (BoM) would be rationalised as their jobs had already been outsources.

Standing Committee report further suggests that SZMCH administration should solve the issue of 321 contingent (contract, part-time etc) staffers and 384 employees adjusted against SDA seats, allegedly appointed illegally, in a way that could not be a precedent for other employees working in various departments.

The report says the SZMCH human resource department staff should be immediately changed because the HR department existed only on paper and was never actually established.

However, the sources said, despite the cabinet body’s instructions many of these employees were still working on their seats. They said one such example was of medical record officer Ghulam Mustafa who is illegally working as admin officer despite abolishing of the seat (of admin officer) since long. Similarly, Khuram Shehzad was working as legal adviser, who was given care taker charge of the seat allegedly against the rules and regulations and was later posted as assistant director and head of development department, despite the clear instructions of the Punjab Bar Council (PbBC) that any practicing lawyer and member of the bar could not work for any organisation.

SZMCH Focal Person Prof Dr Ali Burhan Mustafa told this correspondent that the SZMCH Principal Prof Dr Tariq Ahmed would give his version on the issues after the BoM meeting to be held on May 28 (today). However, Mr Mustafa admitted there were violations of codal formalities in various appointments made during the last many years as some officers were still working on the seats not designated for them.

He added that the SZMH medical superintendent, who was also secretary general of the BoM, was the most relevant person to comment on these issues.

Former finance director Noor Tariq said he and others holding the position could not be held responsible for the illegal appointments that were finalised by SZMCH high-ups.

He asked why the secretaries of the health and finance departments did not take any action in this regard despite being aware of the matter SZMH focal person Rana Ilyas Ahmef did not answer the questions of this correspondent.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2021

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