The Balochistan High Court has been assured that engineers would be appointed as project directors instead of bureaucrats in strict adherence to the Pakistan Engineering Council Act 1979 after due diligence to oversee multi-billion rupees infrastructure development projects in the province.
Four months ago, Advocates Umer Ijaz Gilani and Aimal Khan Kakar challenged the act of the Planning and Development Department of Balochistan on behalf of Pakistan Engineering Council. The department has appointed deputy commissioners as project directors. Advocate Gilani termed the act as a grave violation of Pakistan Engineering Council Act 1979. To which the Balochistan High Court (BHC) has sought the chief secretary’s response in the matter.
Provincial law officer Shahak Baloch on Tuesday appeared before a division bench of Chief Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail and Justice Muhammad Kamran Khan Mulakhail in the matter. He acceded to the petitioner’s claim saying Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan has approved a draft of a policy. He informed during its forthcoming meeting the cabinet will give formal approval of the policy.
Talking to TLTP, Engr Rashid Ahmed Baloch Qazi, Vice Chairman of PEC Balochistan, said that he has been trying to regulate the project director’s appointments in accordance with the Act for three years. Qazi expressed that he ran from pillar to post to fix the issue, saying finally the high court’s directives made the difference.
Submitting a copy of the policy draft, the provincial law officer Shahak Baloch contended the policy will impose bar on existing government employees from appointment against the position of project directors or project staff on an additional charge basis or through routine transfer.
He further informed, ‘Instead, the policy allows Civil Servants of Balochistan, officers of Pakistan Administrative Service and regular employees of autonomous bodies to compete for advertised positions after obtaining the necessary no-objection certificate (NOC) from their respective competent authority”.
He submitted that on the directions of the chief minister the Planning and Development Department has prepared a detailed policy framework for guiding and regulating the process of appointment of project directors. and staff for complex and large-scale development projects.
After examining the draft of the policy, Chief Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail asked Shahak Baloch to submit a progress report in the matter during the next date of hearing on May 26.
Advocate Umer Ijaz Gilani said that principally the government has accepted the stance of his client. He expressed to approach the government for further recommendations on the contents of the policy if required.