Thursday 12 December 2019
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The News - 30 days ago

What ex-secretary law did before his removal

ISLAMABAD: Secretary Law Arshad Farooq became target of the media for facing a corruption reference and was removed as well recently but only weeks after he had prepared draft changes in NAB law, raised questions on the Bureau s summary seeking four BS-22 posts for its Director Generals and opposed giving MP-I scale to an official who happens to be an influential son-in-law.Whether it was a twist of fate or something else, the media raised the question how the officer facing NAB reference could become secretary law only after he had acted in a manner that was not favorable for the Bureau.Interestingly it was Umar Cheema, senior member of The News Investigations Cell, who had pointed out in September this year: A top official (Arshad Farooq) of the Ministry of Law, which has drafted amendment to NAB Ordinance, is facing a NAB reference in an accountability court but the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is unable to object to his appointment fearing reprisal as it is under the administrative control of the same ministry. The News report added, This is in contrast with the past when NAB wrote to the ministry for the removal of a joint secretary who was under its investigations on corruption charges. He was subsequently transferred from the law ministry. The report while quoting a NAB official added, A minister is asked to resign soon after a reference is filed against him but an officer already facing NAB reference has been appointed in the ministry on one of the top position, instead. The issue was also raised in different talk shows following which the government removed Farooq from the position of secretary law. Farooq was not a unique case in the bureaucracy where the NAB accused are not barred under the law to hold any position. Some in the Bureau appeared to be uncomfortable with changes that were being proposed in NAB Ordinance in the Law Ministry during Farooq s stint as law secretary as reflected in Umar Cheema s story.The fact, however, remains that the changes suggested in the NAB law by Arshad Farooq were the ones which are objected in general by the civil bureaucracy and political parties. Arshad Farooq had prepared draft amendments in NAB law for the cabinet, which after consideration of the same had decided to circulate it all the ministries and division for extensive consultation.Not only this, Arshad Farooq also became a stumbling block for NAB, which through a formal summary for the prime minister had sought upgradation of four posts of its DGs to BS-22. When the summary reached the Law Ministry, Arshad Farooq raised questions and pointed out a major flaw in the NAB s proposal. He underlined how the Bureau s DG could be given BS-22 when the post of NAB deputy chairman is in BS-21. It means that the BS-22 DGs will report to a BS-21 deputy chairman.Arshad Farooq noted that the NAB employees do not fall in the category of civil servants and therefore what would be the promotion criteria for BS-22 for NAB officials. He also sought the details about the organisational structure of the NAB to ascertain if the agency really needs four BS-22 posts. Arsahd Farooq also asked if four posts of BS-22 are created then how many new posts in BS-17 to BS-21 would be required. The secretary law also raised question about the financial implications of the Bureau s restructuring plan besides inquiring how the required additional finances would be met.The NAB chairman had moved the summary for the prime minister. Claiming to be unmatched and incomparable with any agency or organisation in Pakistan, the NAB sought from the government four BS-22 posts for its directors general in public interest and as a special case.In a three-page summary, signed by Chairman NAB Justice (R) Javed Iqbal, NAB wanted the prime minister s approval for upgradation of four of its existing posts of director general from BS-21 to BS-22 at Bureau s headquarter in Islamabad.In order to convince the prime minister, the NAB also referred to the Foreign Service of Pakistan as an example and said that the FSP has much lesser overall sanctioned strength when compared with NAB but still it [FSP] has 12 posts of BS-22.The summary suggested that BS-22 posts would enable the Bureau s DG to comfortably interact with parliamentary committees, government officials in BS-22 and their counterparts in foreign jurisdictions. It pointed out that directors general in BS-21 face inappropriate circumstances in such high-level meetings and are put in disadvantage position .In the meanwhile, the former secretary law also opposed a proposal from a quasi-judicial body seeking MP-I scale (containing hefty salary package) for an official, who happened to be son in law of an influential person. The Law Ministry under Arshad Farooq observed that the official could only be given deputation allowance as per the law but not the MP-I scale.

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