ISLAMABAD – Baboos in their desperate bids to ensure blue-eyed appointments in Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) against vacant posts have made mockery of rule of law and merit in the country, it was learnt on Monday.

Reliable sources informed TheNation that a large number of Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) workers have been appointed in the OPF on official slots with the approval of its Board of Governors, which had been held hostage by MQM parliamentarian’s active involvement and presence in it. Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis, Dr Farooq Sattar, hands in glove with the top guns of Overseas Pakistanis Ministry, had made it sure for the party by leaving no stone unturned to ensure the appointments of blue-eyed officials in the OPF, sources added.

Official documents available with this scribe confirmed that appointments on official slots in the OPF were done against the advertised qualifications making mockery of the rule of merit. The documents disclose that contract service of Syed Muhammad Sajid Iqbal in OPF was regularised as assistant director (AD) Welfare & Services Division on 1st September 2010 under a routine office order No.91/10 with a subject ‘Regularisation of contract appointments of assistant director (welfare)’.

While reaching on the age of 40 years, Syed Muhammad Sajid Iqbal in a bid to secure the responsible slot of AD (Welfare & Services) in OPF had submitted a degree in the discipline of Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) obtained from Preston University, United States of America, on 8th November 1999 to the OPF management. He had also submitted a degree of Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Marketing to the OPF authority which was also obtained from the same university (Preston University United States of America) on 8th November 1999, a same date when he got his BBA from the institute of Preston University.

Similarly, another irregularity committed in the appointment of Agha Sultan Mirza (29 years old) who had submitted a BCs degree obtained from Preston Institute of Management Sciences Karachi to the authority and secured the job of AD (Welfare & Services) in OPF. He had been appointed in OPF succumbing to the influence of a former Parliamentary Secretary and MQM stalwart Farhat Khan who is believed as the close relative of Agha Sultan Mirza.

Though the posts were approved for appointment on contract basis for two years having qualification master degree with 2nd Division and age limit 30 years, yet the Board of Governors in its 114th meeting held on 22nd & 24th June 2010 had approved regularisation of contract appointments. OPF Board of Governors is being run under the Chairmanship of Farooq Sattar while most of Board members being MNAs are from MQM, which according to sources have made hostage the OPF.

A commercial audit para pertaining irregular regularization of 14 employees appointed against contract vacancies and payment on account of salary & allowances Rs12.507million has highlighted that appointment of Syed Muhammad Sajid Iqbal along other 13 ADs as well as payments to all of them were held irregular as qualifications were quite irrelevant.  The auditor further established that the Board created and approved the posts of Asstt. Directors purely contractual for a period of two years for airport counters. However, the management of OPF approved regularized the services of ADs from 01-09-2010 i-e even prior to completion of probation period. “ The services of the officers were not utilized for the very purpose for which the same were appointed I-e airport counters and all the officers are posted at Head Office,” auditor says, adding,” In case the appointments are likely to regularize the fact was required to be highlighted in press advertisement to have healthy competition.”

Sources further disclosed that Humaira Atif on the time of her appointment could not produce a licence of law to the OPF management contrary to the qualification criterion, which loudly asks for experienced candidate, but she was recruited for the sacred slot of Assistant Director (Legal) without having any experience being a fresh candidate. However, when a candidate approached the IHC, Islamabad against the appointment of Assistant Director (Legal) then OPF management found it better to terminate her services instead of facing court query as a hoodwinking measure.

OPF management in the re-appointment of Humaira Atif D/O Ashfaq Ahmad as Assistant Director (Legal) in OPF Grade-7 on contract for a period of 89 days had ostensibly committed another irregularity as a hoodwinking measure in response to a writ petition filed in IHC on 18-05-2012 against the initial appointment of Humaira Atif D/O Ashfaq Ahmad as Assistant Director (Legal).

The Registrar, Islamabad High Court, Islamabad with reference to his letter/endorsement No.15755/Writ, dated 15-05-2012 asked the OPF management to explain its stance on the said appointment.

Official letters further revealed that on 2nd July 2012, the services of Humaira Atif D/O Ashfaq Ahmad as Assistant Director (Legal) were terminated with immediate effect by OPF management through a letter No.144/Offrs/12 but on 1st August re-appointed Humaira Atif D/O Ashfaq Ahmad as Assistant Director (Legal) in OPF Grade-7 on contract for a period of 89 days through another letter No.175/Offrs/12 along with a salary package/benefits as admissible to Law Officer in OPF Grade-7.

Sources have also informed that Humaira Atif had obtained salary cheque on 8th October despite the fact that she did not appear in the office from last three weeks due to unknown reasons and her job was on contract basis, adding, that more facts about hefty irregularities could be likely if the concerned quarters bother to study her personal file in details.  Surprisingly, OPF management, making scapegoat the Deputy Director (Law) Irfan Farooq over not submitting appeal petition in the court in favor of Humaira Atif, has suspended the services of Deputy Director (Law).   

Managing Director OPF Chaudry Manzoor, when contacted, has assured strict action against the culprit (Syed Muhammad Sajid Iqbal- Assistant Director - Welfare) by saying, “If it is so then alleged culprit would be taken to the task.” Over the irregular recruitment of Humaira Atif as Assistant Director (Legal), he, however, said that as the time of her initial recruitment she could not produce a law licence but now her appointment on contingency basis is on the merit as now she has a Law License.