ISLAMABAD: The prime minister has appointed the director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to conduct an inquiry against a senior civil servant for drawing parallels between the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government and the Afghan Taliban.

Senior Joint Secretary of Cabinet Division Hammad Shamimi circulated a sarcastic text among his contacts through a social media platform in which he stated: “PTI government and Taliban regime resemble as both are confused how to run the government after assuming power, and both pin hopes on Aabpara.”

Aabpara is a metaphor for the premier intelligence agency of Pakistan.

According to sources, the officer shared the message among some WhatsApp groups which was forwarded to the relevant quarters.

Senior joint secretary of cabinet division drew parallels between PTI govt & Afghan Taliban

Following the development, Sec­retary of Establishment Divi­sion Afzal Latif issued the order about an inquiry against the officer.

The order stated: “The Prime Minister in his capacity as ‘Authority’ is pleased to appoint Mr Sanaullah Abbasi (PSP/BS-22) as Inquiry Officer to conduct inquiry proceedings against Mr Hammad Shamimi, senior joint secretary, Cabinet Division Islamabad.”

The FIA DG has been authorised to proceed against Mr Sham­imi under Civil Servants (Efficie­ncy and Discipline) Rules, 2020.

The inquiry order, which has also been widely circulated on social media and mainstream media, further stated that the inquiry would be completed within 60 days from the date of issuance of the order or within such extended period which the Authority might allow.

The FIA DG has been directed to submit a report to the Authority within seven days of the completion of inquiry with findings as to whether the charge has been proved or not and with recommendations regarding exoneration or imposition of minor or major penalty on the accused officer.

As per statement of allegations, Mr Shamimi has been accused of making “highly objectionable comments on social media platform/group in violation of Rule 22 of the Government Servants (Conduct) Rules, 1964 and instructions contained in Para 4(iii), (iv) and (v) of the guiding instructions on use of social media by government servants issued by Establishment Division vide Office Memorandum…which is tantamount to misconduct under Civil Servants (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules, 2020”.

According to the guidelines on social media government servants have been barred from appearing on any media platform except with the permission of the government.

The notification on the guidelines had said that instructions were not intended “to discourage any constructive and positive use of social media by a government organisation for engaging the people to solicit feedback on a government policy, suggestions for improvement in service delivery and resolution of their complaints”.

“But such an organisation shall maintain their social media platforms continuously or frequently to remove offensive, inappropriate and objectionable remarks,” it had said.

The notification had given detailed instructions to government employees under Government Servants (Conduct) Rules, 1964, governing participation of government servants in different media forums, including social media platforms, for compliance.

Referring to Rule 22 of the Servant Rules, Establishment Division had said: “The rule restrains a government servant from making any statement of fact or opinion which is capable of embarrassing the government in any document published or in any communication made to the press or in any public utterance or television programme or radio broadcast delivered by him or her.”

The notification had warned government servants that violation of these instructions would be tantamount to misconduct and lead to disciplinary action against delinquent government servant under Civil Servants (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules, 2020. Besides, disciplinary proceedings would also be held against government servants in case they are administrators of a social media group where any violation has been committed.

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2021

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