ISLAMABAD: The Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC), which is known as the most credible recruiting agency in the country, has favoured a blue-eyed candidate on an important seat by violating the set rules and regulations.
Sources told Pakistan Today that the high-ups of FPSC had advertised two grade 19 posts of Board of investment (BOI) director in April 2016. The department, after taking the test, announced the results of the written exam in January 2017 and subsequently successful candidates were directed to submit their documents for further procedures.
FPSC conducted the interview of successful candidates on August 23, 2017. Sources further said that an overage candidate Zhufran Qasim had also appeared for the interview.
FPSC, in the advertisement of the above posts, had stated the candidate age should be between ages 35 to 40 years. There was also the general age relaxation of allowing 45-year-olds to apply for the post. Sources said that in this case, Zhufran Qasim, who at that time was 53 years old, applied for the job of BOI director.
Interestingly, no other candidate above the age of 45 appeared for test or interview. An official said that currently, Zhufran Qasim is working on deputation as the BOI director since 2013. The duration of deputation is three years, extendable by two years if there are extraordinary circumstances but despite that, he is also violating Establishment Division rules and Supreme Court’s (SC) decisions regarding deputation.
It is worth mentioning here that government servants, including contractual employees, who have completed 2 years of continuous government service on the closing date of applications, have a 10-year age relaxation up to the maximum age of 55 years for remaining in service but it should clearly be published in the advertisement.
Sources further said that the double age relaxation was not mentioned in the advertisement. The initial process of publishing and approving an advertisement in FPSC goes through the lowest to the highest rank (secretary) to ensure that nothing is missing in terms of following rules. It is, therefore, impossible that all of them missed this requirement. Clearly, this was intended to ensure that the overage candidate enters the contention for the seat illegally. Otherwise, FPSC is very careful in observing rules. In one particular instance, FPSC had given an advertisement in March 2018 for another BPS-19 seat, in which double age relaxation up to 55 years of age was very clearly mentioned.
ESTA Code clearly states that the candidate has to be within the prescribed age limit. An exception is given in the form of age relaxation, but that comes later.
Sources also said that this is a well-settled matter now as verdicts in few cases in Federal Services Tribunal established that when a candidate of right age is available, overage candidate should not be selected.
When FPSC officials were asked about this, they said that the department did not say anything about the candidate’s maximum age.
Interestingly, one successful candidate went to court against this injustice. He contended that since under Establishment Division rules, in case of granting a double age relaxation, it has to be clearly advertised in the press. In the case of the above-stated posts, the rule was not followed and no mention of age relaxation was given in the FPSC advertisement. The Islamabad High Court (IHC) judge asked the FPSC on May 11, 2018, that how come a 53-year-old person managed to sit in the test and then got called for the final interview when the maximum age limit was 45? And if FPSC wanted to give double age relaxation why did they not advertise it but instead of giving a reply, the representatives of BOI and Establishment Division came to FPSC’s rescue.
BOI representatives produced a letter in front of the court by Zhufran Qasim, whereby he voluntarily withdrew his candidacy against the advertised posts. On the request of BOI and Establishment Division representatives, the judge disposed the case.