ISLAMABAD, Nov 25 President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday appointed Justice (retd) Rana Bhagwandas as chairman of the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC).

After his appointment, Justice Bhagwandas called on the president.

President's spokesman Farhatullah Babar told Dawn that Justice Bhagwandas had been appointed by Mr Zardari under Article 242 (1) (1A) of the Constitution.

Meanwhile, sources said the powers enjoyed by the FPSC chief had been cut drastically, as (s)he was no longer responsible for top appointments/promotions in the bureaucracy. This was seen as a major jolt vis-à-vis merit-based promotions in the bureaucracy.

However, the government says it merely revived a past practice.

A senior government official said Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had already reconstituted the selection board for senior positions in the civil services. The secretary of the establishment division had been made the chairman of the board, which recommended promotions against BPS-20 and BPS-21 posts.

A couple of months ago an ordinance was promulgated, amending the Civil Servants Act of 1973 for the removal of the chairman of FPSC as head of the board.

Under the ordinance, the prime minister can appoint anyone as chairman of the board. Bureaucrats fear that this may lead to “political promotions”.

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