ISLAMABAD - Despite unprecedented increase witnessed in environmental pollution, the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) Islamabad has been running without permanent head for the last one year, The Nation learnt yesterday.

Sources in the Ministry of Climate Change said that the ministry could not appoint a regular DG Pak-EPA after the former DG was posted abroad last year. They said that the ministry violated the rules and ignored the most deserved and experienced officer of Climate Change Division Zia-ud-Din Khattak who was eligible for the post.

The ministry wrote a letter to the Federal Public Service Commission to advertise the post of DG Pak-EPA. Meanwhile, high-ups of the ministry appointed Irfan Tariq as acting DG Pak-EPA. Sources said that Khattak challenged the FPSC advertisement for the appointment of regular DG PAK-EPA in the court.

On the other hand, sources said, the senior officers of the ministry are pressurising the minister and secretary climate change through ministers and lawmakers to get this lucrative post. They mentioned that important affairs of Pak-EPA are in doldrums due to absence of any permanent head, as effective plan for overcoming environmental pollution in Islamabad has not been finalised so far.

Sources said that the acting DG sent Zia-ud-Din Khattak on one year forced leave and issued show-cause notice to him on alleged baseless allegations. They said that a performance report submitted last year to the secretary office by Pak-EPA director general was also not satisfactory. The performance report spelled out different measures taken by the Pak-EPA with regard to tackling environmental degradation and the issue of polythene bags in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) but former minister Mushahidullah Khan could not satisfy from it, they added

They said the performance report had been sent back to the DG with comments by the minister, seeking separate performance reports of all the employees of the Pak-EPA.

The minister termed the role of Pak-EPA of unprecedented significance in view of the environmental degradation, which has disfigured the capital in every form and manifestation. The former secretary also said the Pak-EPA officers would be brought to book if their performance report is found unsatisfactory, particularly in controlling air and water pollution.

A senior official of the ministry informed that fine was imposed on the factories which were spreading pollution in the capital and the agency has also launched a campaign to get the capital free of polythene bags. Despite repeated attempt to contact spokesman of Climate Change Ministry Irfan Tariq, who is also acting DG Pak-EPA to get his point of view but he did not respond till filling of this report.