Friday, August 27

What ails PEMRA?

After being in troubled waters over reported banning of transmission of news channels and allegedly for having ‘dubious policy’ on the issue, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority seems to be least concerned about following transparent course of action for hiring or firing employees besides favouring a bunch of blue-eyed.
As per sources, over a period, the number of employees has increased from 368 employees to over 600, while these recruitments have been done on regular basis sans following the much-trumpeted merit mantra. “In 2009, an advertisement was published seeking 119 employments from Grade-1 to Grade-19, but 300 recruitments have been made,” confided the source.
Spokesperson PEMRA Dr Abdul Jabbar, while acknowledging facts, asserted that actually this strength was increased because of the fact that the cable network had been extended from metropolises to villages. “The enforcement of the laws was not possible with the existing force, especially in the far-flung rural areas where the cable operators without licences were operating. For meeting this very requirement after PEMRA had extended its operations across Pakistan, we needed more recruitments,” he averred.
On the other hand, the PEMRA on January 1 this year, 22 employees out of 140 on the contingency list were shunted out across Pakistan though more are being recruited for the same list. After this, no other letter was issued to send any more employees home, while more people were recruited, and more are being employed. “It is a matter of likes and dislikes, and on the pattern of the previous ones, the fresh appointments have been made and will be made as per considerations other than merit,” maintained a PEMRA officer requesting anonymity. He also showed serious reservations about the capacity of the newly appointed “since they cannot write single correct sentence in English.”
Dr Jabbar said he did not exactly remember the number, but was assertive in saying that the terminated ones would not have been performing to the required level certainly. He reiterated his stance of extended PEMRA operations, and consequent recruitment, even for the contingency list. He explicitly maintained, “No bad intention was there in sacking the employees or recruiting more since we have tried to meet the criteria, and the recruitment procedure was properly adopted and is being followed.”
Moreover, the PEMRA seemed to have become a haven for certain blue-eyed, who are enjoying perks and privileges in violation of the rules. As per PEMRA (Employees Service) Regulations, 2008 Part-X ‘Appointment by Deputation’ Clause 49 (C), employee would hold post on regular basis in the same basic pay scale or equivalent in his parent department in which the post is placed in the PEMRA. This has been grossly violated for Shahzad Nawaz Cheema OMG (BS-19) working in BS-20 as DG, Research & Policy, Samina Farzeen of 26-CTP (BS-18) working in BS-19 as GM CTV, Ayesha Tassaduq 27-CTP (BS-18) working in BS-19 as GM (Monitoring), Shazia Toor OMG (BS-18) working in BS-19 as GM and Nauman Shah BS-18 working in BS-19 as GM (Admn). They are said enjoying perks of their ‘revised’ grades despite the fact that none of them is in its promotion zone, and has done the mandatory training courses. However, when ‘favour’ is not to be dished out, then people like Fareena Mazhar – 14-CTP, Income Tax (BS-19) – is working as GM (Coordination) although she is the senior most to be considered for the post of Director General.
Dr Jabbar was of the view that no violation has been committed in this regard. “This has been done as per the discretionary powers of the Chairman for running of the affairs. Secondly, these officers are not being given extra pay of their revised grades since they are working in their own pay and scale,” he added.

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