ISLAMABAD Favouritism is on the rampage in the Information Ministry as its Special Selection Board for foreign postings of civil servants has blatantly violated the relevant rules while sending or extending favourites stay abroad, TheNation learnt reliably. Special Selection Board for Information group also defied the three year mandatory condition for staying at one station and also preferred some junior officials over senior officials. Worse still, the Ministry appointed an aspirants even before the interview date, official sources told TheNation. In the appointments, the candidatures of senior officials were ignored for foreign postings and some juniors were also selected for different countries, said sources. The interviews of 52 aspirants for foreign postings were conducted on August 3,2009 and the Special Selection Board (SSB) after conducting the meeting, appointed 14 officials including eight from Grade-19 and the remaining from Grade-18. The team of SSB, comprising Minister for Information, Secretary Information, Secretary Establishment and Secretary Foreign Service conducted these interviews. As many as 14 aspirants including eight from grade 19 and the remaining from grade 18 were selected for foreign postings including at Washington (America), Beijing (China), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Ankara (Turkey), Cairo (Egypt), Moscow (Russia), New York (America), Paris (France), Jeddah (Saudi Arabia). It is pertinent to note here that it is mandatory to spend a minimum of three years at one station but the Special Selection Board for Information selected some candidates who are already serving abroad and had not done the three-year mandatory period. The sources said that a lady in Grade-19, who was already posted in Pak High Commission Singapore has been sent to London as Press Minister, in violation of the rules in practice for selection criteria. Likewise, the sources said, Imran Gardezi, who had been working as Press Secretary to Prime Minister (PM) Yusuf Raza Gilani was appointed as Press Secretary, Washington (USA) even though he has also not fulfilled the three years mandatory period, as he was appointed as Press Minister in UK just around six months before this appointment. It was also learnt that both the persons also did not appear in the formal interviews and questions are also being raised over the notification of Imran Gardezi even before the interview date. The sources said that the formal interviews were conducted on August 3 while the approval of the summary was sent to the Prime Minister in the middle of November, after almost three months. It is to note here that normally the summary for the approval is sent in two to three days but in this case summary was sent exceptionally late, and Prime Minister approved the Summary on 14-11-09, sent by the M/o Information and Broadcasting. The sources said that among the 14 selected candidates some junior officials were preferred on senior officials. It was also learnt that some of these junior officials had only spent a few months in the Ministry before their posting abroad. The selected candidates list also indicating that majority of officials on deputations were sent abroad, said sources. It was also relevant to note here that almost whole PR team of the PM including his Press Secretary Mr. Imran Gradezi, addl Press Secretray Mian Jahangir and PRO Mr. Daniyal Gilani have been given foreign postings in Washington, New York, and Beijing respectively. Despite several attempts by this correspondent, Secretary Information Mansoor Sohail did not attend his cell phone. Even a text message was dropped at his mobile number, however he did not respond till the filling of this report.