LAHORE - The Punjab Government departments are facing acute shortage of staff, which is hitting their efficiency. It is feared the departments may not meet the performance indicators set for implementation of policies and the development targets enshrined in the budget 2009-10. The worst hit was the Punjab Auqaf department where the key positions were lying vacant for months together, hampering its performance badly. There was no secretary, chief administrator Auqaf for over a period of nine months since June 2009, until an incumbent was posted recently. Other positions like director administration, director religious affairs were vacant for months together. The post of director Ulema Academy in grade 18 was lying vacant since long, while the additional charge of the post was given to Executive Officer Markaz Moarif-e-Auliya, Allama Saleem Awaisi, the additional charge of most important post of the director Finance was given to deputy Director Mahboob Elahi for months. However, recently a Director Finance Hamid Masood Warraich has been posted. Similarly, the post of assistant director (Training) was vacant after the incumbent Prof Raghib Naeemi was posted as Khatib Masjid Dalgaran. The post of deputy director, public relations was vacant since the past three months as the incumbent deputy director Naseem Abbasi retired on superannuation of age on December 31st. The entire Secretariat of Quran Board working under the Auqaf department was without staff. That included posts of administrative officer, accounts officer, assistants, computer operators and clerks. The secretariat recruited staff after giving an advertisement in the newspapers last year but failed to maintain transparency and merit. Following reports of malpractices, the authorities declared all the recruitments null and void. Similarly, about 400 posts of various cadres were lying vacant in the main secretariat of Auqaf and its zonal and district offices. Persons were working on contract and daily wages, half of whom have been given regular appointments while the daily wagers posted against contract positions. This include the Khatibs, uelema and lower staff of the mosques and shrines while a number of posts are still vacant. The department published an advertisement in the newspapers for recruitment of staff from grade one to 16 regular posts and a written test was also held but none of them was called for interview. The results of written test have also been cancelled. The department is, however, functioning without vital staff, which included clerks, stenographers, computer operators, accounts and audit clerks. It was said the process of recruitment was withheld due to absence of a secretary, chief administrator in the department for nine months. However, the process could not start after the post has been occupied by a competent officer even after four months of his joining.