ISLAMABAD: The Establishment Division — a nerve centre of the federal government — has been facing an acute shortage of regular officers of the Office Management Group (OMG) and running government’s business through a makeshift arrangement, an official document has revealed.

As per a report filed by the Establishment Division before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in response to a pro bono petition of a section officer of the OMG for allegedly sidelining their occupational group and assigning key responsibilities to non-cadre officers working on deputation, those on deputation were working as section officers purely on a temporary basis.

However, it claimed that the matter raised in the petition had already been settled by the Supreme Court while the petitioner intended to “delay the matter of appointment by transfer in OMG which is pending since 2013”.

The report explained there were 750 sanctioned posts of section officers (SO) in BS-17/18 in the OMG and 10pc of duty posts i.e. 75 (38 in BS-17 and 37 in BS-18) are reserved for appointment by transfer whereas the remaining 675 (338 in BS-17 and 337 in BS-18) are filled through initial appointment and promotion, respectively. A major chunk of two-third 338 posts in BS-17 i.e. 225 is filled through CSS and one-third of 338 posts in BS-17 i.e. 112 is filled through promotional exam.

Establishment Division claims officers on deputation not considered for induction in OMG due to multiple issues

“There had been a severe shortage of OMG officers because direct intake through CSS was discontinued from 2000 to 2008. In order to offset this shortage, officers from other services/departments/ provincial governments etc were taken on deputation as per deputation policy of the federal government, from time to time in the past. The officers taken on deputation were inducting regularly in OMG up to 2011 through departmental selection committee against 10 per cent reserved quota as provided in OMG Constitution,” said the report.

Since 2011, the officers on deputation could not be considered regularly for induction in OMG due to multiple litigation and court cases, it said.

According to the report, Supreme Court on March 30, 2017, while disposing of a contempt petition, directed that appointment by transfer in the OMG should be undertaken by the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC). In compliance with the SC order, the establishment division then issued the eligibility criteria for appo­intment by transfer in OMG through the FPSC, the latter notified appointment by transfer in OMG (Conduct of Examination) Rules, 2020 with the approval of the federal cabinet.

The FPSC advertised 74 SO posts, reserved for appointment by transfer in OMG, through a competitive process and the selection process is still under way.

The establishment division in its report claimed that the posts reserved for appointment by transfer in OMG were ‘temporarily occupied’ by the officers working on deputation till the completion of appointment through the FPSC.

The issue first came to light before the PAC, which was told that deputationists in the division had overstayed the five-year limit for their postings.

Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2022

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