ISLAMABAD Though the Supreme Court has advised the federal and the provincial governments to stop giving extensions and contracts to retired civil servants, the practice continues unabashedly in all the four provinces, with Bachochistan showing maximum restraint. In actuality, the brunt of the apex courts notice against post-retirement reemployment seems to have come down to the hundreds of Section Officers (SOs) who were re-hired out of sheer necessity. Nearly 200 SOs were re-employed as the government had been facing a shortage of desk officers owing to the former regime abolishing the Office Management Group from the Civil Superior Services (SCC). Now as the Supreme Court has sought details of all enjoying extension or re-employment on contract, these SOs are to be counted in the same category. According to sources in the Establishment Division, the government has instructed officials drafting lists of the re-hired civil servants to camouflage the extensions and contract employment of the notables in the lists of SOs as well as respective ministries individual re-hiring. Sources said that the reemployment done by the Establishment Division, inclusive of SOs, was not much, while those hired directly by the ministries and their attached departments after retirement were in much greater number. The Establishment Division on Tuesday wrote to the ministries to furnish by February 3 the list of retired persons re-hired at the ministerial level as well as in the attached departments and corporations, both autonomous and semi-autonomous. As many as 9 retired officials were placed on key positions in the present regime after re-hiring and extension in certain cases, directly by the Establishment Division that runs under instructions from the prime ministers office. To start with, two top slots in the Presidency are occupied by retired civil servants. They are Salman Farooqi, Secretary General to the President with the status of a Federal Minister, and Malik Asif Hayat, Secretary to the President. Similarly, Defence Secretary Lt-Gen (r) Athar Ali and Defence Production Secretary Lt-Gen (r) Israr Ahmad Ghumman were also re-employed by the Establishment Division, though the government could preferably have deputed serving Generals. Secretary National Assembly Karamat Hussain Niazi and Secretary Senate Raja Amin do not fall in the category of re-employment by the Establishment Division as the speaker National Assembly and the chairman Senate gave them extension. A retired judge Raiz Kiani is working as Federal Secretary Human Rights Division on a contractual basis. Law Secretary Masood Chishti is also a contractual employee, but he does not fall in the category of re-employment being handpicked by Law Minister Babar Awan from the legal fraternity, and is way short of the retirement age. Last but not least, a retired officer of the Police Service of Pakistan, Sultan Slahuddin Babar Khatak is occupying the key post of Inspector General Sindh on a re-employment basis. Another key slot is that of the Rector National School of Public Policy, the umbrella body of the National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA). A retired bureaucrat, Ismail Qureshi, has grabbed the position since he was working with the parent authority -- the Establishment Secretary on extension after retirement. However, officials in the Establishment Division are of the view that the present government mostly exercised restraint in re-employment and post-superannuation contracts. They say the number of retired bureaucrats and Generals holding key slots in the federal bureaucracy was much higher in the previous regime and it has gone down gradually to even less than a dozen in the cases of top slots allocated by the Establishment Division. Second-tier officials working on extension or contract include Deputy Inspector General Police Gilgit Baltistan Farman Ali, DIG Larkana Deen Muhammad, DIG Sindh Khurram Gulzar, Budget Coordinator Nasrul Aziz, Joint Secretary Finance Talib Baloch and DG Population Census Khyzer Hayat.