DailyTimes | KP CM and Industries secy at loggerheads over a retired official

KP CM and Industries secy at loggerheads over a retired official

* KP bureaucracy gangs up to save a retired colleague
KP CM and Industries secy at  loggerheads over a retired official

PESHAWAR: Showing complete breakdown of governance, the Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak has failed to have his orders implemented by the Secretary Industries with regard to the removal of Nazir Ahmed Awan, Acting CEO-Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Board of Investment and Trade.

According to the documents available with Daily Times, the CM notified Sectary Industries, Commerce and Technical Education, Farah Hamid twice to remove Nazir Awan whose contract was not renewed by the HR committee of the KP-BOIT in November 2016 on the grounds that he was not only incompetent but had also crossed the upper age limit but the Secretary Industries defied the CM orders and asked the said person to hold his position as Acting CEO. The CM issued first order on January 27, 2017 while the second directive was sent on March 01, 2017. The CM second order "Non-implementation of Chief Minister Order" reads "I am directed to forward herewith a copy of self-explanatory letter of the Mr. Iskander M. Khan, Member of KP-BOIT on the above cited subject and to state that the Honorable Chief Minister has shown great concern over the matter and directed that the Official named Mr. Nazir Ahmed Awan, Acting CEO KP-BOIT, be relieved immediately and recoveries be made from him failing which disciplinary action will be taken against those who are responsible and recoveries will be made from them"

The Secretary Industries not only defied the CM orders but went a step further and changed the Board notification that empowered the HR committee to undertake recruitments/appointments/promotions of the employment of KP-BOIT. The Board notification was changed after six months when the HR committee invoked its powers and refused to extend the contract of Nazir Awan or appoint him as consultant which he had desired.

"This is unprecedented in the history of KP and generally in Pakistan that for a 64 year old retired and incompetent person, the board notification was changed. This case shows how weak the CM is that he cannot fire a retired official. It also reveals that Secretary Industries Farah Hamid is more powerful and everyone knows why she is more powerful' said an official with a smirk at the CM secretariat requesting not to be named.

When contacted Secretary Industries Farah Hamid said that summary has already been moved to Chief Minister as this is a standard procedure and once the summary is approved, Nazir Awan will be relieved. Interesting the summary she sent me is dated 13 February 2017 while the CM second order to relieve Nazir Awaz was issued on March 01, 2017.

Interestingly Principal Secretary to CM, Israr Shah also told this correspondent that it was up to the Board to decide the fate of Nazir Awan. "Neither the HR Committee nor the CM have the power to relieve Nazir Awan" he added. Some members of the Board I spoke with said that Secretary Industries made sure that board meeting is not convened to benefit Nazir Awan. On September 21, 2015 the KP government amended the civil service act on the maximum age limit for project employees under project policy of provincial government. The Act reads "The project policy has been framed in pursuance of the provisions of Section-25 of the NWFP Civil Servants Act, 1973 which provides maximum age limit as 60 years to civil servants and under overall policy of the Government. Employment beyond the age of 60 years is not allowed". Speaking to this correspondent, Nazir Awan acting CEO KP-BOIT said that he would relieve his position only if his parent ministry de-notify him. He said the Act of KPBOIT authorizes him to stay till the appointment of new CEO but actually the Act read "Notwithstanding a change in the term of his office by an order of the Government, the Chief Executive Officer shall continue to hold office till his successor enters upon office" When asked is the CM not aware of this provision in law and passing orders of relieving you of duties, he said it seems someone in the CM secretariat is misguiding the CM. A law ministry official clarified that a) The CM has the discretionary powers to relieve any government official of his services b) Even if we agree to what Mr. Awan says, the Act refers to the CEO not an Acting CEO c) The expiry of the contract of any official does not entitle him to seek the Board's nod. The new Rules and Regulations that are yet to be presented before the board have been developed with the connivance of the consultants and industries ministry in a way that the age limit for retirement has been increased from 60 years to 70 years to adjust Nazir Awan and set precedence for a dozen more retirees in other government departments in violation of the KP government's own policy.