ISLAMABAD - A senior bureaucrat refunded honorarium equal to his two months’ salary arguing he was not entitled to that.
This senior bureaucrat is Syed Gulzar Hasnain Shah, Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue. According to official documents available with The Nation, ministry of finance included Syed Gulzar’s name in the list of recipients of honorarium, which is equal to his current two months’ salary. In a surprising move, Gulzar refused to accept the honorarium arguing secretary finance was not competent authority to grant him honorarium.
“Thank you for including my name in the list of honorarium equivalent to my two-month salary. But, I am to state that my principal accountant officer is controller general of accounts and only his office can grant me honorarium. Secondly, only one honorarium is approved for the entire staff of Accountant General of Pakistan Revenue (AGPR), hence, I may not be given two honoraria. So I am not in a position to receive that amount,” Gulzar said in a written reply to secretary ministry of finance (copy of official letter is available with The Nation).
Gulzar’s refusal to accept the honorarium has irked many powerful bureaucrats stationed in Islamabad. While a number of federal secretaries hailed the decision, there were some who said Gulzar’s move is meant to earn fame by refunding the honorarium.
“It seems the gentleman tried to earn fame and good will among media and fellows. He should have accepted the honorarium as he was entitled to it,” said a senior bureaucrat on condition of anonymity.
One of Gulzar’s seniors termed him as a dead honest officer and gentleman as this correspondent requested his comments.
“Look sir! Gulzar Hasnain is one of the bureaucrats who are well known for honesty and integrity. Also, he belongs to a landlord family of Okara district. For officers of his cadre, money doesn’t matter,” one of Gulzar’s seniors said.
Some two dozen top bureaucrats serving in ministry of finance are currently under investigation for availing Rs 10 million in honoraria for presenting the first budget of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government - a benefit that an audit report has termed irregular. Reportedly, ministry of finance had paid Rs 144.7 million in budget honorariums to its officials, contrary to rules and regulations.
The audit report for the financial year 2012-13 revealed how Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood and Adviser to Finance Ministry Rana Assad Amin got millions of rupees that the audit believes was irregular. Concerned authorities are currently investigating the matter, The Nation learnt.