ISLAMABAD - The federal government has granted additional charge of the post of Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters (PCIW), for three months, to Syed Muhammad Mehar Ali Shah, Joint Secretary, Water Resource Division.

"On the consideration of the proposal at para 20 read with para 23 of the summary, moved by the Water Resource Division, the prime minister has been pleased to approve the grant of additional charge of the post of Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters (PCIW) to Syed Muhammad Mehar Ali Shah, in addition to his own duties for a period of three months or till the appointment of a regular incumbent, whichever is earlier, said a notification issued by the PM Secretariat here.

The prime minister has also been pleased to desire that Water Resource Division shall make efforts to fill in the post in accordance with its recruitment rules within a period of three months, the notification said.

The post of  Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Water was vacant for the past one month due to the completion of the tenure of the former commissioner.

Last month a summary was moved by the Water Resource Division, to the prime minister,  said that in pursuant to the directions of the prime minister, some shortlisted officers from attached departments of Ministry of Water Resources have been interviewed and nominations from the various water sector organizations including Wapda, provincial irrigation departments and NESAPK are being obtained for proposing a panel of suitable eligible officers for posting against the post of PCIW.

"Concurrently, a request has also been made to the Establishment Division for processing the case to fill the post in accordance with the recruitment rules of the post. The ongoing exercise for proposing a suitable panel entails time," the summary said.

The summary further said that given the fact that the important position of Pakistan Commissioner for Indus Waters can't be left vacant, recourse has also been made to consider assigning duties of the vacant post on current charge basis in accordance with the ESTA CODE (2007), Sl. No. 117. In the instant case, the senior most officer available in the organization (PCIW),Sheraz Jameel Memon Additional Commissioner for Indus Waters (BS-20),can't be considered for promotion/appointment for the reasons recorded in para-2/ante, besides non availability of his PERs/service record. In the meanwhile, Sheraz Jameel Memon has also submitted a representation which is under examination.

In light of the facts narrated at paras 17-18/ante and the urgency to fill the vacant post forthwith for complying with the day-to-day mandatory provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty including sharing of data, routine correspondence between the Pakistani and Indian Commissioners etc. besides addressing the issues concerning the ongoing Kishenganga and Ratle dispute case, it has become imperative to entrust the charge of PCIW to a suitable officer pending regular appointment of PCIW.

The summary proposed that charge of the post of PCIW be given, as a stop gap arrangement, to Syed Muhammad Mehar Ali Shah, the incumbent Joint Secretary (Water), Ministry of Water Resources in addition to his current duties in the ministry.

The incumbent JS is presently working on deputation from NESPAK.