ISLAMABAD: The newly announced policy of 20 percent quota of “media persons” in the posts of publicity/press officers at different embassies and high commissions across the globe may land in the court as the officers of Information Group term it a daylight assault on their right.

The “media persons” after successfully getting their share in the public sector housing societies, have now turned to occupying lucrative govt posts by using their influence. A few have already occupied the posts of chairmen, vice chairmen, managing directors of public sector entities. Information Group Officers Association looks angry on the new government policy regarding the appointments of media persons in foreign countries as, according to them, the posts of press officer are cadre posts of Information Group. The association has appealed the government to take back the decision otherwise they will take the issue to the court, The Nation has learnt. A senior member of association of Information group informed this scribe that PM gave approval to new press officers’ appointments policy without the consent of information ministry, fstablishment division and finance division which was constitutionally wrong act of government, asking that how can PM approve it solely. “We all know that who has advised the PM and there is a specific group of officers that keeps on misguiding the PM,” the officer held. She said that it was only the mandate of information ministry under the 1973 Civil Service Act to keep theses posts and to appoint officers of information group as press officers in foreign missions through proper procedure. She added that the government could not specify the 20 percent quota for media persons under the services rules. The officer said these posts are cadre posts and only officers of Information Group can be appointed in foreign countries through Externally Publicity Wing. She mentioned that these posts were only for information group and it was wrong to advertise theses posts in other ministries or divisions.

She cleared that Information Group Officers Association would meet over this issue on Tuesday and will decide to file a petition in court against this new policy. She said that the government has made a lame excuse that the previous postings were not made on merit, and questioned that if the previous postings were devoid of merit then why didn’t the government recalled the officers sent abroad?

Talking to The Nation an official of Information Group said that disappointment among the officers was touching its heights after announcement of the new policy by government. He said that Information Group officers had joined the civil service after clearing the Central Superior Services (CSS) exams then why the government has made it necessary for officers to appear in NTS, LUMS tests etc. He was surprised that the government did not take in confidence the top officers of information ministry before changing the policy.

He commented that after assuming the charge, the incumbent government has only served the interests of the DMG officers who were busy graphing the powers of others groups. DMG already took away the 64 percent posting through an SRO which was issued by present government last year and case is pending in Supreme Court.–NOKHAIZ SAHI