Lahore - The rope of hope is slipping fast out of the hands of scores of senior government officers who are fearing denial to promotions as a result of structural changes in the promotion rules the current government has lately promulgated.

Several officers of grade-18, grade-19 and the grade 20 are nowadays running from pillar to post and sending SOS calls in their desperate attempt to hold the official notification and publication of Central Selection Board’s decisions taken in its recent meet.

The powerful Central Selection Board already to its discretion had 15 marks out of the total 100 and the PTI-led government doubled the discretion. Many other changes were also introduced in the criteria for the much-aspired promotions. For instance, under the new rules, the CSB members are authorized to give more credence to intelligence reports provided against officers instead of keeping in view their marks.

Earlier passing marks for PAS were 75 while 72 for the rest of cadres and those could be achieved through showing outstanding performance at National Defence University (NDU) and administrative college, respectively. There were 50 marks for ACRs and 35 for courses while 15 were for CSB.

Previously, if a candidate secured 80 percent marks there were chances of his/her promotion even CSB did not give him a single mark. However, under the recently notified rules, an officer even getting 90 percent marks out of his performance in Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) and training courses cannot get promotion until he obtains 70 to 80 percent marks from the CSB. New formula or promotions is 40 marks for ACRs, 30 marks for training courses and 30 marks based on the discretion of CSB members.

Under the new pattern, an officer seeking promotion in grade-18 is required to get at threshold 60 marks from CSB while at least 65 marks are needed for grade-19 and 65 marks to be obtained for grade-19. Similarly, 70 marks are to be achieved for grade-20 promotion and 75 marks for the 21-grade.

Requesting for not being named, an officer whose name was also discussed in the recent CSB said that the present government is attempting create its own group in the bureaucracy. Another officer sought immediate court interference culminating into a decision that does not hurt the human rights of the officers while their cases are examined for promotion.

A senior bureaucrat-turned-lawyer Sikandar Hayat Mekan has on his part taken a step and challenged in Islamabad High Court the newly-promulgated promotion rules. The petitioner has focussed on Personal Evaluation Reports (PERs) and Training Evaluation Reports (TERs) being the most relevant points to consider for promotion.

However, fate of the scores of officers fearing denial to promotions hangs in balance as the IHC is scheduled to hear this matter on March 05, 2020 while CSB under the new promotion formula has made his decisions which are expected to be announced very soon.