Sheikh Akhtar Hussain, who has several allegations to his name in addition to being declared dead in a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) reference, has been appointed as the interim head of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) by the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS). An official order terms him as the most eligible officer to hold the position.
Both, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Islamabad High Court (IHC) are looking into the corruption cases filed against him as well as for declaring himself dead.
Naveed Kamran Baloch, Secretary NHS backed the appointment of the Additional Director Dr Sheikh Akhtar by stating that he was the best choice for the position as other DRAP officers will be retiring soon or are under-qualified. The position became vacant after Dr Mohammad Aslam left the office on February 01, completing his 3-year tenure.
“During the consultation, it transpired that senior officers were not eligible or they were going to retire soon. So it was decided to nominate Mr Sheikh who is the most qualified person for the post”, he asserted. Answering a question regarding the alleged death, the Secretary clarified that NAB had declared it by mistake.
Illegal or Not?
The news came as a shock to many officers as a junior officer of grade-19 had been appointed to lead the day-to-day business despite there being a number of senior officials in the organization. Some of the senior officers of grade-20 include directors of different sections like Pharmacy Services (Sheikh Ansar Ahmad), Budget and Accounts (Azhar Ali), Pricing (Amanullah), and Biologicals (Noorus Saba).
The appointment of organization heads can be ordered only by the Federal Cabinet or the Prime Minister, which makes his appointment illegal. The ministry has apparently illegally exercised the powers of the Prime Minister and the federal cabinet..
NHS spokesperson claims that Sheikh didn’t declare himself as dead but was a mistake on NAB’s part and that there are no corruption cases against the new DRAP head.