Health Ministry appoints Urdu language teacher as SO

Health Ministry appoints Urdu language teacher as SO

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHSRC) has appointed an Urdu language teacher as a section officer to regulate the legal affairs of health related departments and regulatory bodies.

Azam Ghakhar, who was a teacher and Deputy Head Master (BS-17), in designation under the Federal Directorate of Education Islamabad, had been posted on a political basis as section officer (BS-18) in the health ministry on deputation about two years ago.

The current Government of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) had been claiming to ensure transparency and good governance in the government departments throughout its tenure but on the other hand the above step is a minor example of bad governance and nepotism in the incumbent

The health departments are considered a very sensitive subject across the world and only professionals, having relevant technical knowledge, qualifications and experience were required to be posted to see the affairs of such bodies but unfortunately the tradition is opposite in Pakistan.

The affairs of the key attached bodies of the health ministry including the Pakistan Medical Dental Council (PM&DC), the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), the National Institute of Health (NIH), the Pakistan Council for Nursing (PCN), Pharmacy Council of Pakistan (PCP), the National Council for Tibb (NCT), the National Council for Homeopathy (NCH), the Pakistan Medical Research Council (PMRC), the Health Services Academy (HAS), the Tobacco Control Cell (TCC) and the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) were being seen by a non professional, SO Azam Ghakhar, which showed the lack of interest of the incumbent government in the health sector.

A senior official of the ministry disclosed to this scribe on condition of anonymity that SO Muhammad Azam Ghkhar belongs to Hafizabad the native town of the Minister for Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar.

The officer was appointed on deputation to work as a front-man of the minister, he further added, saying that only a professional person having technical knowledge of the health related regulatory bodies was required to be posted against this slot.

He said with the connivance the PM&DC body, Azam Ghakhar managed to restore the services of a former Registrar PM&DC Dr. Ahmed Nadeem Akber who was facing corruption charges and embezzlement cases worth 100 million rupees without getting a clearance from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

A reference of the ministry's letter was given in the notification regarding the restoration of the services Ahmed Nadeem Akber but the ministry later disowned this correspondence, the documents available to Daily Times revealed.

A letter was also served to the PMDC to release the salaries and areas of Ahmed Nadeem Akber but later the ministry also withdrew this by adopting the stance that it was issued without the approval of the competent authority.

The documents related to the appointment of Muhammad Azam Gakhar said that the deputy head master also had been working as Assistant Director and Deputy Director in the FDE and the law ministry as well despite the fact that his basic profession was just teaching.

When contacted, the Secretary, Ministry of NHSRC, Muhammad Ayub Sheikh, said that the officer was appointed with the approval of the Establishment Division, saying that Azam Ghakhar was already working in the ministry when he assumed charge as the secretary of the ministry.

He said that Azam Ghakhar had law experience and had been working in the ministry of law and justice earlier.

Sheikh, however, said the ministry would not give extension to his services after completion of his current deputation period.

When the reporter contacted SO Azam Ghakhar, on his phone, he refused to comment on the subject despite repeated attempts.