By Sarmad Ali
Almost all Pakistani media has run the news prominently of withdrawal of safarshi letter of federal minister Zartaj Gul regarding her recommendation to NACTA to appoint her sister on deputation. But the media completely ignored the fact that NACTA has hired her sister and no direction to withdraw that safarshi appointment. Isn’t it shame for media that it acted foolishly by beating the drums that Zartaj letter withdrawn because of intervention of PM Imran Khan. And actually the muda is still there.
On the other hand PTI leaders are taking credit in a silly way of withdrawing the letter.
Pakistan media should not allow PTI government to fool it and run the news that Zartaj sister Shabnam GULL still sticking to the top post in violation of merit. And NACTA bosses should act on their own to save their institution from further disrepute. Pak Destiny
Here is the Dawn writeup on the issue to see the whole matter
On a directive of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul on Sunday withdrew her letter written to the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta) seeking appointment of her sister to a senior position on deputation in the organisation.
The minister withdrew the letter hours after Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Affairs Naeemul Haq through his social media account on Twitter stated that Mr Khan had taken notice of the ongoing controversy over the appointment of Shabnam Gul, the sister of the minister for climate change, in Nacta and had asked her to withdraw her recommendatory letter written to Nacta on Feb 27.
The letter had been written by the minister’s Principal Staff Officer (PSO) Samiul Haq to the interior secretary stating that “I am directed to refer to your telephonic conversation with Ms Zartaj Gul, Minister of State for Climate Change, regarding the appointment of Ms Shabnam Gul in Nacta. The CV of Ms Shabnam Gul attached herewith for further necessary action.”
In her second letter, a copy of which is available with Dawn, written on her behalf by the same PSO, the minister has now requested Interior Secretary retired Major Azam Suleman Khan “to probe the matter for any kind of irregularity committed during the process of requisitioning of the services (of her sister) in Nacta” since the matter “has been taken out of context.”
“The minister has also desired that the findings be made public and in case of any irregularity or illegality committed, the requisition of Ms Shabnam Gul may be withdrawn,” stated the letter.
The minister in her letter clarified that “the applicant is an independent woman having credentials commensurate with the said job,” adding that the “purpose of the letter was merely the referral of her CV and not the nepotism or any kind of influence by any means”.
Ms Gul made it clear that “she and her party do not believe in nepotism and have struggled for merit-based system”, added the letter, in which she blamed the media for generating the controversy.
The letter stated, “due to unprofessional journalism, an unwarranted barrage of criticism has been witnessed for which the minister is deeply concerned”.
Earlier, Special Assistant to the PM on Political Affairs Naeemul Haq took to Twitter to state “the PM has directed that Zartaj Gul should withdraw her letter written to Nacta regarding the appointment of her sister. This was against the ethics of the PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf) which has always opposed nepotism.”
“No one in the PTI government can promote their relatives and friends by using their positions,” claimed Mr Haque.
The controversy began when a copy of the Feb 27 letter went viral on social media and later picked by a section of the mainstream media. Initially, the Nacta authorities declined any comment on the matter, but later it issued a clarification, confirming the authenticity of the letter. The Nacta’s clarification added fuel to the fire as the opposition parties also started criticising the alleged nepotism.
A spokesperson for Nacta said: “Zartaj Gul did not write any letter. The letter attributed to her, which is being discussed in the media, was written by Zartaj Gul’s principal staff officer to the secretary interior.”
Shabnam Gul, a BPS-18 officer, was serving as assistant professor in the International Relations Department of the Lahore College for Women University and was appointed as director (BPS-19) in Nacta, Islamabad, on deputation for three years.
“Nacta received a total of 12 requests from employees of different federal and provincial government departments working in BS17-19 for posting in Nacta on deputation basis,” said the spokesman, adding “Interviews were conducted on May 14, 2019, and the committee recommended six of the 12 candidates for sending their cases to the Establishment Division for further processing”.
It said Shabnam Gul was one of the selected candidates recommended on the basis of merit by the committee as she “is a PhD scholar with several papers on counter-extremism and terrorism, and [was] found appropriate and relevant for the research wing”.
Criticising the move, secretary general of the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal tweeted on Saturday “Nacta’s clarification in light of the PSO to minister’s letter becomes a joke. I am surprised how Nacta, which I know was a very professional organisation, could do such a thing. It is a clear case of nepotism.”
Another PML-N leader Tallal Chaudhry in a statement said that only the minister’s letter had been withdrawn and not the appointment. Terming the withdrawal of the letter a “drama”, the PML-N leader demanded that the minister be asked to resign for “misusing her position”. He also alleged that Naeemul Haq had managed to recruit his nephew in National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra).
Responding to the aggravated controversy after Nacta’s clarification, the climate change minister defended her act of writing the letter to the interior secretary and tweeted that “Nacta’s comprehensive clarification, blowing away the nonsense being peddled in a section of the local media regarding supposed breach of merit. One cannot disfranchise deserving candidates just because they happen to be related to a government minister.”
Through another tweet, Ms Gul had stated that appointments in Nacta were always being made through deputationists. She said her sister had been a grade-19 experienced officer and her PhD thesis had been cleared. She said her sister had done her MPhil in anti-terrorism. “No one can stop (her) from serving the country,” she tweeted. – PakDestiny