Six organizations of the Ministry of Science and Technology have been running without a head which is hampering their performance.
This was revealed in the Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology which met with Mushtaq Ahmad Khan in the chair and was attended among others by Senator Hidayatullah, Muhammad Asad Ali Khan Junejo, Kamran Michael and senior officers from the Ministry of Science and Technology, HEC, PSQCA, PCSIR, COMSATS along with all concerned.
The committee took up various issues of importance including irregularities in the seniority list of Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR), details of the ongoing corruption cases at Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), and pending promotion cases at both organizations.
In addition, the development of an ecosystem for the promotion and glamorization of Science and Technology and the status of on-going projects were discussed.
The meeting commenced with details of the fact-finding committee regarding irregularities in the seniority list of the officers of PCSIR. Members were informed that the matter was resolved as per the recommendations of the committee. A final seniority list will be submitted to the ministry at the earliest.
The committee was also informed that a list of eligible promotion cases have been submitted. Mushtaq Ahmad was of the view that organizations under the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) must ensure that a system is formulated to ensure timely promotions so that such disputes do not arise.
While discussing the investigation into corruption in the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority, the committee was informed that there are 7 cases being worked on which have some procedural errors. While discussing details of corruption cases at PSQCA, the committee took strict notice of officers not being suspended during investigations. It asserted that this would impact inquiry outcome and was important to ensure transparency.
The Committee chairman said that it was recommended one year ago to suspend corrupt people. If corrupt officials are sitting in high positions, how will the investigation be transparent?
The committee directed that two officers should be suspended immediately. The chairman said that ghost employees are sitting abroad and salaries have been sent to their accounts. These cases should be sent to NAB, said Kamran Michael. The NAB only has to arrest the political people, he added. The chairman said that such cases can also be sent to the FIA.
While discussing the progress on the initiation of a dual degree program by COMSATS, HEC was directed to withdraw the court case against it.
Mushtaq Ahmad lauded the on-going projects under the umbrella of MoST and said that all possible steps must be taken so that timelines are met. This, he said, was imperative to the progress of the country. Details of the six projects were shared.
Reviewing the details of developing an ecosystem that will promote science and technology in the country, the committee was of the view that the development of a central ecosystem that is governed by a common platform is imperative to the progress of the country.
The committee took notice of a dearth of the meeting of the National Commission on Science and Technology since 2002. Chairman Committee, Senator Mushtaq Ahmad said that meetings must be conducted on a regular basis as this was the only way forward. He asserted that a meeting of the Executive Committee should be called immediately.