Fake appointments of Information Officers: NAB includes Sindh CM, Qaim Ali Shah, others in case

The News

KARACHI: The National Accountability Bureau has included Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, former CM Syed Qaim Ali Shah, former minister Sharjeel Memon, former chief secretary Rizwan Memon, besides six secretaries of the provincial government in the ‘fake appointments of Information Officers’ case’.
According to the official record available with The News, these officers, most of them sons, brothers and close relatives of leaders of Sindh’s ruling Pakistan People’s Party, were appointed in 2012 and in June 2017, violating the Sindh Service Rules and misinterpreting the Sindh High Court order.
The NAB sources said sufficient evidence had been gathered by the Bureau and in the coming days some high-profile arrests were expected in connection with the said case.
Apart from this case, the NAB is also inquiring into the alleged role of Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah in other cases, including ‘Roshan Sindh Project corruption case’, ‘Fake accounts case’ at NAB, Islamabad, ‘Wheat Stock case’ at NAB Sukkur and ‘Subsidies to sugar mills case’ at NAB Karachi.
According to NAB’s official correspondence, copies of which are available with The News, it asked Sindh Chief Minister Murad Shah through an official letter that “during his incumbency as chief minister in 2017, he has approved the summary for regularisation of 39 Information Officers of Grade 17, which prima facia is against the law as the Sindh Public Service Commission was kept out of the loop at the time of regularisation. Moreover, the officers who were regularized were not eligible for the posts they held at that time because they were illegally appointed in 2012”.
In this regard, a questionnaire has also been sent to the Sindh CM on October 15, 2020.
According to the official record in 2018, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has initiated an inquiry regarding alleged illegal appointments of 43 Grade 17 Information Officers in the Sindh Information and Archives Department in 2012 and has raided many times the Sindh Information Department and seized the record. Some of the officers after inquiry was initiated have left their jobs.
The inquiry has been initiated on the complaint of Kosar Noor Solangi, a post-graduate of the Mass Communication Department.
The Information Department, Sindh, authorities were also asked by NAB to provide complete details of contractual appointees — Information Officers of Grade 17 in 2012 — along with their qualification and experience, their salary details, including the details of the head from they were paid and asked to provide information whether these officers were appointed during the ban imposed by the Election Commission or not.
According to the NAB documents, these 40 plus information officers of Grade 17 were appointed in 2012 on contract basis and then their contracts were extended illegally.
In 2016, some contract officers filed a fresh petition CP D-4751/2016 for the confirmation of their jobs by hiding the original facts from the Sindh High Court of the pending five petitions filed against their initial appointments; interestingly, Advocate General Sindh’s office also did not point out this position and practically supported the contract officers for obtaining the order.
The said contactual officers prayed to the Sindh High Court that their services in terms of Sindh Regularisation and Ad hoc and contract Employees Act 2013 may be regularised. The Sindh High Court, keeping in view the available record, ordered the Sindh government to complete the process within three months and then immediately Sindh Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon forwarded the case to Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Shah who without any delay confirmed these officers without getting the actual position of the matter.
The official documents further suggest that in 2012, when the schedule of general elections 2013 was announced and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had put a ban on any kind of appointments, some 43 Information Officers of Grade 17 were directly appointed on contractual basis. According to the Service Rules, the basic degree for the position of Information Officer is ‘Masters in Mass Communication’ and any officer of Grade 16 and above could be appointed only through the Sindh Public Service Commission but in this case to benefit the close relatives of political leaders MPAs, ministers, ruling party leaders and some journalists, the ban of the Election Commission of Pakistan and Service rules was violated.

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