LAHORE - The Punjab government has appointed a university teacher as director in the agriculture department in sheer violation of rules.

Shahid Iqbal has been teaching at the University of Sargodha as assistant professor. He has already availed deputation as director Lawrence Gardens Lahore for over seven years.

Sources revealed to The Nation that Housing and Urban Development Department secretary in 2016 had rejected the Parks and Horticulture Authority’s (PHA) proposal to further extend his deputation as Bagh-e-Jinnah director. “As such, further extension in deputation for another one year, as proposed by the PHA in favor of Shahid Iqbal, Baghe-e-Jinnah Project Director, would be in violation of three years prescribed period of deputation,” the HUD secretary had observed on the file.

Moreover, the CM office had also refused to extend Iqbal’s service as the Lawrence Gardens PD.

Earlier, Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif had specially granted him extension in the deputation period.

After Iqbal’s request was finally rejected by the Punjab government, the PHA demanded his services for the floriculture school to be set up at the Lawrence Gardens. The government wanted Iqbal posted as director of the floriculture Institute.

Sources say the seat of the director cannot be filled through deputation. “The appointment of Shahid Iqbal as director floriculture was a clear violation of the rules” said a former services secretary, seeking anonymity. However, he added, such violations in the S&GAD were very common.

As per the rules, the director floriculture may only be posted by promotion and this practice can usurp the promotion rights of the agriculture department.

Agriculture Secretary Muhammad Mahmood was not available for comments.

However sources in the Punjab government confirmed that not only the S&GAD issued the notification order but the agriculture department issued the appointment of Shahid Iqbal as director floriculture department.