THE PLIGHT OF AFGHAN REFUGEES IN KP

(SYED FAWAD ALI SHAH, )

In the year 1979, the world witnessed a great influx of refugees crossing the borders and coming into Pakistan to find shelter due to the ongoing war in Afghanistan. The Pakistani Government established the Commissionerate of Afghan Refugees (CAR) in Ministry of SAFRON to facilitate them in each Provincial capital with its Chief Commissionerate based in Islamabad. Its mandate is to look after the Afghan Refugees But unfortunately it has turned into a white elephant like many other government departments.

Plagued with corruption, nepotism and favoritism, this institution has added to the miseries of not only the afghan refugees but as its own employees. Recently the FIA’s Anti Corruption Circle Peshawar has started a full fledged inquiry to probe in the affairs of Afghan Cmmissionerate KP. It has been noticed by FIA that in violation of the rules and regulations of the federal government recruitment policy, the Afghan commissionerate Peshawar has illegally recruited 28 blue-eyed people in BPS-16. As per rules, in case of new inductions, 50 per cent quota was to be given to the junior employees for their upgradation yet this was denied to the employees in lower grades. The Accountant General Pakistan Revenues (AGPR) has informed the federal government via letter No.TM (F) legal Cell/2016-171291 issued on January 1 2017 that the post of Refugee Village Administrator (BPS 16) had been upgraded from BPS-16 to BPS-17 by the Establishment Division with effect from March 31, 1991, and questioned how the recruitment was made in BPS-16 instead of BPS-17. Most of these newly recruits belong to Bannu, Lakki Marwat and D.I Khan. The Federal Public Service Commission has been bypassed with no advertisement in widely published national dailies and the quota for women, minorities and disabled persons have not been observed. The CAR Peshawar extended reason of no budgetary allocation for advertisement in the newspapers but when pointed out regarding internal advertisement or even publishing the same over social media then there was no reply.

In order to elevate the blue eyed ones, different tactics have been adopted. Many Project employees have been promoted from Assistant Director to Deputy Director despite the fact that there is no concept of promotion in a project.Similarly the Assistant Director has been directly made Project Director by establishing a special youth cell for this purpose. The reason given is his seniority although dozens of officers working in CAR Peshawar are far senior than him. Another reason stated by CAR authorities for appointing him as PD is his honesty but when asked whether other employees are dishonest and if yes then why they haven’t been expelled yet, the reply was a long silence.

Another employee who was recently recruited as Refugee Village Administrator (RVA) has been elevated to the post of Additional Commissioner although he is a junior most employee. Similarly one RVA has been appointed as District Administrator Chitral In violation of rules. Another female employee has been reappointed as Monitoring officer. Interestingly this lady was sacked by the previous commissioner for being a ‘’Ghost Employee’’. Sources say that CAR authorities are quoting the name of the Principal Secretary to Prime Minister for these illegal appointments and promotions.

Apart from such promotions, many over aged and retired employees are still retained in violation of Supreme Court judgments and civil servants act 1973. The glaring example is that of an empoyee who got retired from CAR Peshawar as District Administrator but has been illegally retained as Deputy Director Repatriation. The commissionerate authorities have confirmed the figure of more than 40 employees who are over aged, some of them being over 70 years.

Another grey area is that of salary increase and Daily Allowance (DSA).One accountant is blamed for illegal deductions from salaries of employees. The amount of DSA is paid by UNHCR in lump sum but its bigger chunk is misappropriated for Commissionerate high ups. Official vehicles have been allotted to even those who have only desk job depriving many senior field officers of the transportation facility. The official vehicles are being used for the personal and family affairs. The Laptops, Air Conditioners and other equipment provided by the UNHCR for different projects are illegally retained by CAR employees for their personal use upon its completion. The CAR employees are involved in doing multiple jobs in violation of Efficiency and Discipline Rules 1974. For example one CAR Peshawar employee is an official PCB cricket coach who remained in Iran for a 3 year assignment. Some are doing journalism while others are doing parallel jobs in other private sector organizations and drawing only salary from CAR. Recently in an Anti Encroachment Drive by the Deputy Commissioner Peshawar, the inhabitants of the refugees’ camp disclosed that they pay illegal gratification for erecting illegal structures to the District Administration of CAR Peshawar. All these state of affairs need a strict surveillance and monitoring by the Federal Government whose basic slogan is accountability and zero tolerance of corruption and malpractices.
 

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