Over 4,000 bogus appointments in different cadres were made in the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (OP&HRD) during the previous regimes, claimed Special Assistant to Prime Minister on OH&HRD Zulfiqar Bukhari on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters here, the PM’s close aide lashed out at officials of his ministry who, according to him, did nothing for overseas Pakistanis or development of human resource over the years. He said that fake appointments made in the ministry during the previous regimes were apart from many other selections made on the basis of favoritism and nepotism. He said those responsible for these acts will be taken to task in accordance with law.
Bukhari said ridding the country of the menace of corruption was one of the major targets of his party. “When I assumed office, I sought details and came to know that there are over 4,000 employees who existed only in the official files and never attended the office. It is very tough task to streamline such a huge mess in the ministry,” he said.
He said there are several other irregularities in the ministry as well, adding that he is preparing a ‘white paper’ to ascertain the corruption and irregularities of billions of rupees made during the previous two regimes.
Taking Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s Farooq Sattar – who has been minister for overseas Pakistanis and human resource development during the Pakistan People’s Party regime – to task, Bukhari claimed that he has got documentary evidence of Rs 300 million corruption during that period. “Not only this, PPP’s Khursheed Shah – in his capacity as OP&HRD minister – and bureaucrats in the ministry have also been involved in corruption. Corruption at such a huge scale is not possible without connivance of the incumbent minister,” he maintained. “Either the minister was incompetent who remained unaware of all such matters or he intentionally protected managing director of the Employees Old-Age Benefits Association (EOBI) and gave him liberty to play with the money belonging to the poor people,” he added.
Sharing the measure being taken to facilitate the oversees Pakistanis, Bukhari asserted that his ministry has planned to introduce ‘OPF Web Portal’ for oversees Pakistanis through which they could approach the ministry while sitting in their homes and file any sort of complaint with the ministry, adding that through that portal, they can even check the status of their application/issue. “Just by one click, they can even know that on which table their request is lying,” he said, adding that the web portal will be launched on Wednesday (today).
The special assistant said that the PC-I of Rs 200 million project for provision of water to Sohan area of Islamabad has been approved by the ministry of finance and soon the development work will be started. Besides some other areas of the ICT, Sohan faces acute shortage of water and most of the residents use water through private tankers.
He said investing on human development was need of the hour as the country had the lowest human development index in the region, adding that Pakistan possessed huge potential in terms of human capital but unfortunately nobody ever tried to utilize this potential.
Meanwhile, Bukhari participated in a separate event of prize distribution and oath taking organised by the OPF Girls College where he stressed that the education is important for the creation of a tolerant and productive society. “Education helps make an individual a productive citizen and this asset can’t be taken away from anyone,” he said in his address.
Published in Daily Times, November 14th 2018.