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FDE chief sent packing

May 18, 2012

ISLAMABAD, May 18: Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) on Friday discontinued the services of Atif Mehmood Kayani, director general, Federal Directorate of Education (FDE).

The removal came after a three-judge Supreme Court bench observed that in the presence of highly qualified persons, a bachelor degree holder that too in a third division was managing the affairs of the most important organisation that looked after all the educational institutions of the capital.

Following the Supreme Court observation the secretary CADD Imtiaz Inayat Elahi assured the Supreme Court that a qualified officer would soon replace Atif Mehmood Kayani.

The three-judge bench comprised Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain.

Joint Secretry CADD Rafique Tahir while talking to Dawn confirmed that a notification in this regard had been issued. However, he said, Atif Mehmood Kayani will continue to work as Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (PEIRA) chairman.

New DG FDE will be appointed on Monday, he said.

Justice Jawwad S Khawaja observed: “This is the height of incompetence and maladministration that a person who had a third degree in BA and also had a partnership in private schools had been appointed as DG of the FDE,”

The court was hearing a petition of Shahnaz A Riaz, a PhD who had questioned the appointment of Atif Kayani arguing that despite an earlier decision in her favour she was being sidelined and not being considered for the post. Atif Kayani was appointed the DG in May 2011.

Secretary Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) Imtiaz Inayat Elahi however assured the court that due process would be initiated to appoint a qualified person and a summary, in this regard would soon be sent to the prime minister.

The summary will also contain the name of petitioner Shahnaz Riaz.

However, the fact was disputed by the petitioner who argued that the recommendations for the appointment of DG-FDE were never sent to the prime minister rather a senior officer from the directorate was appointed at the top slot.

At this the chief justice observed that the court would examine the appointment process and postponed the proceedings for ten days to enable the secretary to complete the job.

This court has the authority to look into any order given in violation of the law even if by the prime minister, Justice Khawaja emphasized adding all the institutions, including the judiciary and the prime minister, were subservient to the law.

“This shows how much importance we are giving to the education, at least a competent and suitable person should have been appointed in the FDE,” the chief justice observed lamenting that the future of the children were being put at stake.

Imtiaz Elahi however claimed that Shahnaz Riaz who had also served as the DG-FDE in 2010 was removed from the post because of poor administration.

When the court inquired as to how Atif Kayani was handed out the lucrative post, the secretary replied that under the rules he had the authority to employ any person for the post of DG on temporary basis.

At this Justice Khawaja though admitted that the secretary CADD can appoint a DG-FDE for three months on a temporary basis and then can even grant extension for the same period but the ultimate authority to appoint on permanent basis vests with the prime minister only. (Ikram Junaidi also contributed to this story)