A few weeks ago, the Supreme Court's judge Justice Gulzar Ahmed said Sindh is the most corrupt province in Pakistan, since, as per his quotes in the media, not a single rupee of provincial budget was spent on the people of the province. Financial corruption is one thing; institutional corruption is another, which is at the risk of deteriorating further in Sindh if incompetent and unlawfully promoted provincial government employees are promoted further to grade 20 in stark violation of the Supreme Court 2015's order which is still pending execution.

It so happens that at various times in the 90s Sindh government had made ad-hoc appointments of assistant commissioners bypassing the Sindh Public Service Commission's competitive process and later regularised them without due examination. This was in addition to various nominations made by the provincial chief minister under West Pakistan Civil Service (now Sindh) (Executive Branch) Rules of 1964 that allowed the chief minister to fill up to 5 percent of the positions of assistant commissioner by nominating anyone he deemed fit.

That 5 percent limit was frequently breached, but that's another matter. The real issue is that those ad-hoc appointments and nominations were of people who had not even passed the due (SPSC) exams and had become commissioned officers overnight. The whole list of these is long and cannot be reproduced here but documents available with BR Research show that stenographers, assistant protocol officers, private secretaries were given important positions of assistant commissioner in various districts of Sindh including Karachi.

Some of these officials, who at the risk of repetition have not even passed service examinations, are now in grade 19 and 20, of which some are department secretaries or additional secretaries responsible for drafting and implementing policies in various areas including health and education. Not only has this impaired the Sindh's governance capacity, it has hurt the growth prospects of those who joined the ranks of Sindh public service through competitive process.

In light of this, the Supreme Court (SCMR-1752 and CA No. 28-K of 2013) had passed the order in 2015 to repatriate these appointees to their parent departments. The honourable court had in fact also declared these appointments outside the competitive process of Sindh Public Service Commission as unconstitutional.

“The discretion of the Chief Minister to absorb any employee from any part of Pakistan to any cadre with backdated seniority directly affects the fundamental rights of all the civil servants in Sindh being violated of the Article 4, which provides equal protection of law to every citizen to be treated in accordance with law which is inalienable right of a citizen," so said the court.

However, that order was only partially executed by Sindh government, following which a petition for complete execution was filed in Sindh High Court. Since then, that petition still stands unresolved courtesy delay tactics adopted by the Sindh government.

Sources closely involved with the case have informed BR Research that while some of these illegal appointees have already been promoted to grade 20 in the past, many others will soon be promoted since nominations for the promotion from 19 to 20 grade are in the process of being sent with their training course at the National Institute of Management due to begin by the end of this month.

If the Supreme Court's order is not fully implemented and if these unlawfully recruited officials are promoted, it will not only be against the fundamental rights of those officers who have joined the ranks through due process, it will also further deteriorate the state of governance in the province.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019