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ISLAMABAD, March 17: Taking notice of what it has termed objectionable postings and transfers ordered by a former ports and shipping minister — Babar Ghouri of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) — the establishment division has stopped five senior officials from working on their new positions.

In a letter dated March 15, the establishment division asked the auditor general to ensure that no financial disbursements were made on the orders relating to the transferred officials.

According to the letter available with Dawn, chairmen of the Pakistani National Shipping Corporation (PNSC), the Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) and the Port Qasim Authority (PQA), director general of the Ports and Shipping Wing, and a joint secretary of the ministry were changed in the second week of February in violation of rules.

Before his transfer to the PNSC, Admiral (retd) Mohammad Shafi was working as chairman of the PQA.

He replaced Vice Admiral (retd) Saleem A. Meenai who was appointed as director general of the Ports and Shipping Wing.

Vice Admiral (retd) Azhar Shamim was transferred from the position of director general of the Ports and Shipping Wing to the GPA as its new chairman.

Brig (retd) Mohammad Saeed Khan was working as director general of the PQA before his transfer to the post of chairman of the authority.

Dr Syed Pervaiz Abbas was chairman of the GPA before his new assignment as joint secretary at the ministry.

In its letter, the establishment division specifically mentioned that appointment on the posts could be made only by the competent authority (secretary of establishment division).

The transferred officials were informed that any action on their part without prior notification by the division would be illegal.

Referring to the government’s rule OM No 6/2/2000-R-III, the letter said that appointments of heads of organisations were required to be processed through the establishment division but the procedure had not been followed.

It said the establishment division had therefore informed the ministry that the transfers had been made in “utter disregard of law/ rules”.

“In view thereof, the ministry is required to move individual cases, if so warranted, of transfers/posting/appointments on above positions through the establishment division for proper scrutiny and examination in accordance with law,” the letter said.

Despite repeated attempts, Mr Ghouri could not be reached for comments.