Political agent appointments: CS’ notification withdrawn within 48 hours of issuance

Senate committee called for fresh appointments after governor ignored in process. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Senate committee called for fresh appointments after governor ignored in process. PHOTO: EXPRESS

SHABQADAR: The future of four political agents (PA) of Mohmand, Khyber, Bajaur and Kurram agencies hangs in the balance after the government withdrew an ex-post facto notification of their appointments within 48 hours of issuing it.

On Feb 9, Chief Secretary Amjad Ali Khan issued the transfer order of four PAs. However, the approval of the governor is required under the Constitution for such matters. Mehtab had resigned by the time and therefore such postings would fall within the ambit of his predecessor.

Regardless, Amjad transferred four PAs; two were sent to G-B, one to Balochistan and another for a NEPA course. Fresh appointments were made by the CS in place of these officers.

Noticing the absence of the governor’s approval, the SAFRON Senate Committee took up the matter and ordered the transfer and posting of all four officers to be cancelled. It called for fresh appointments on the basis of seniority.

The SAFRON committee, in its report, also suggested disciplinary action against the CS and establishment secretary for neglecting the then CEO of Fata. It ordered a new summary be prepared and forwarded by the FATA addition chief secretary, who looks after such matters.

Subsequently, the K-P CS issued an ex-post facto order related to the four existing PAs on August 2. It claimed the current governor, Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, was pleased to grant the ex-post facto approval of the order issued on February 9.

This sparked a fresh debate in the Senate Committee, which had clearly stated fresh appointments for political agents, based on seniority. It was pointed out that the governor also expressed his reservations over these appointments; a stark contrast to the claims of the CS’ claims in the ex-post facto order.

The Senate committee recommended that these political agents cannot be reappointed and a fresh summary should be forwarded to the FATA ACS. On August 4, the CS’ notification was withdrawn.

A FATA lawmaker told The Express Tribune the senate committee pointed out irregularities and recommended disciplinary action against the officer, beside the withdrawal of these posting orders. The committee called for a fresh order for appointments, but the CS issued his own notification, which showed mala fide intent on his part.

He said the governor was kept in the dark and was not shown the factual position before approving the order. The lawmaker recommended a detailed enquiry into the matter. He said the order was illegal and could be deemed so by the SAFRON Senate Committee.

Now, the future of the four PAs that were appointed on Feb 9 is in the balance till a new summary is forwarded to the governor.  If these appointments are indeed found illegal, there are questions marks over the constitutional of orders passed by these political agents during their brief tenures.

Original news : http://tribune.com.pk/story/1157632/political-agent-appointments-cs-notification-withdrawn-within-48-hours-issuance/