LAHORE - The Punjab government will pay Rs800,000 per month to the director general of the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) in addition to his pay of Rs1.5 million for holding additional charge of the office of the director general of the Punjab Agriculture , Food & Drug Authority (PAFDA), The Nation has learnt.

The Punjab chief executive has already given his consent to the proposal. The proposed contract period for the PFSA director general is two years -- June 2018 to June 2020 -- and the Home Department is working on a summary in this regard.

It was decided at a selection board meeting the other day that the PFSA chief would be given the aforementioned salary for holding the additional charge . As per official documents, the steering committee of the PAFDA had recommended at a meeting on May 26, 2016 that the PFSA director general would hold additional charge of PAFDA director general’s office. The Punjab chief minister has given necessary approval in this regard and the S&GAD has issued a notification. The committee chaired by the finance secretary also endorsed the proposed package for Director General Dr Ashraf Tahir.

The finance secretary wrote, “The pay package for the PFSA DG, specifically Dr Ashraf Tahir, (will be paid) to compensate him for additional responsibilities of establishing PAFDA till the selection of regular incumbent.”

The contribution of Dr Ashraf Tahir was also discussed. Tahir provided technical assistance for engagement of consultant for construction, supervision and laboratory equipment planning of PAFDA labs that was approved in shortest possible time.  Moreover, Tahir led the team of the agency and Infrastructure Development Authority Punjab (IDAP) to the preliminary design workshop in Dubai to interact with the design consultants i.e. Dar Engineering from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, HKS from the United State of America and ARCIDC from Portugal on lab design, site and planning, etc.

Moreover, it is proposed to revise pay package of the additional DG of the PFSA from Rs600,000 to Rs700,000 per month.

When contacted, a Home Department official said Dr Muhammad Amjad was appointed Additional DG of the PFSA on a special pay package of Rs600,000 per month on March 3, 2016. “His job was very hectic and sensitive and his performance demanded an increase in his salary package. He had been given multiple assignments to reduce the backlog in DNA cases and monitor the quality management system to improve other departments like toxicology, trace chemistry and narcotics, etc. He successfully managed to decrease the backlog of DNA and serology cases from 5,910 to 2,913 up to September 2017.

The remuneration being paid to him was not commensurate with his qualification and experience. Dr Amjad is PhD in molecular biology from the USA and qualified DNA analyst, technical manager, local cadis manager and DNA auditor in accordance with the National DNA Quality Assurance Standards of the USA. He worked on sexual assault cases, assisted in training in collection of sexual assault samples to medicolegal examiners and same day blood serology case screening.

He rendered services as member of the Joint Investigation Team. Record 17,348 DNA reports were issued from March 2016 to September 2017 under his supervision,” the official says.  The documents says after detailed deliberations it was unanimously decided at the meeting of the selection board that the pay package of additional DG of the PFSA may be changed to the maximum slab of MP-1 scale as per the revised notification of the Punjab government. As per the MP-1 pay package, the basic pay is Rs565,950, house rent Rs142,000, utilities Rs24,300 and monetisation of transportation facility would be Rs95910 per month.

The officer said that none of the forensic experts either from abroad or from Pakistan was ready to work on the pay package offered by the Punjab government.

As the Sindh government too wants to establish a state of the art forensic lab, it may hire Dr Ashraf Tahir if compensation is not made, the officer held. After approval of the competent authority, the PFSA DG would become perhaps the highest paid head of a public body.

 Earlier, Ahad Cheema was getting about Rs1.5 million as head of Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Company. Officers like Rashid Mehmood Langrial and Mujahid Sherdil (IDAP), CEOs of the Punjab Saaf Pani Company both south and north were drawing more or less Rs1 million per month. Many officers appointed to other public sector companies, authorities and foundations are drawing much more than regular government officers.