LAHORE - The Punjab Ombudsman has declared the appointment of deputy director in Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) null and void and ordered stern action against the selection committee under PEEDA Act 2006.

The public sector body had announced a second committee to ensure the appointment of a blind officer after the first one didn’t recommend the favourite officer for selection.

The ombudsman further ordered to appoint a candidate on merit. The agency could also do fresh process for recruitment.

The PEF advertised the post of deputy director programmes on disabled quota.

On May 19, 2015, the PEF devised a committee comprising three directors for interview. The committee interviewed 16 candidates and Rizwan Ahmad Ch stood first on the list while Rasheed Ahmad Phularwan as second.

The later was working as assistant director in the PEF, whom the foundation wanted to appoint by all means. The PEF announced a second committee for the interview. The second committee conducted interviews for six candidates and declared Rasheed Ahmad Phularwan on the top.

The petitioner, Muhammad Saleem from Gakkar Mandi, complained that the selection process was not transparent and there was no need for the second interview. The one who was appointed was a blind man and could not meet the criteria.

But, the PEF in its stance stressed that it selected a right person with ample experience. The Ombudsman office investigation officer (IO) Zafar Iqbal Gill conducted joint hearing of the case.

The IO called the selected candidate Phularwan to know that he was fully blind and unfit for the job. On the other hand, PEF additional director law Uzma Saeed cited a Supreme Court judgment 2008SCMR-960 and said that the Ombudsman didn’t have authority to investigate the issue of appointment process.

However, the Ombudsman claimed that he was not violating any court orders.

The selected candidate Phularwan admitted that he could not work on computer.

On this the IO summoned the second committee members who didn’t turn up on repeated calls.

The ombudsman wrote that there was no mention of the second interview in the first interview notification so the second one could not be justified.

The second interview was only conducted to adjust the favourite candidate and in the first interview, Rizwan Ahmad was on the top and had the right to be appointed as DD Programme.

The Ombudsman further wrote in its order that as per the conditions, the candidate must be a proficient one in MS Suit and a blind candidate was unfit for this job. The process of appointment of a candidate who was selected and appointed as DD was violation of transparent selection criteria.

Since no such proceedings and material had been placed on the record to justify the appointment of a blind man, the Ombudsman declared the appointment null and void.