LAHORE - The Punjab chief secretary has turned down the summary of the Environment Protection Department regarding proposed amendments to service rules relating to posting of Director General Environment Protection Agency, The Nation has learnt.

The EPD was seeking certain amendments that suited Dr Javed Iqbal, the officer recently removed from the office of EPA DG on the Lahore High Court verdict.

The CS went on to give adverse remarks against the existing lot of directors and the resultant poor performance of EPA as an enforcement body.

“The Department has a dead pool of directors who have not really contributed to make EPA a robust and vibrant organization. It will be by mere seniority that the senior most director will get promoted and no tangible improvement in the making of the department will be brought about”, the CS stated while rejecting the summary forwarded by Secretary EPD through Secretary Regulations.

The CS made it clear that there was no need of revising service rules as restructuring of otherwise dead EPA was on the cards. 

“We are considering revamping the EPA. Hiring of this post (DG EPA) along with others from the market may be considered as first option. Directors of EPA and APUG/PMS officers can also participate in the process of market based hiring”, the CS stated.

The EPD sought amendments in service rules to first rectify the mistake of posting of Dr Javed Iqbal as DG EPA and later to restore him after his removal from the office following LHC verdict.

Dr Javed Iqbal, Technical Advisor of Housing Department having PhD in Environment, was posted as DG EPA on June 13, 2015, in violation of service rules. Prior to that, he worked as Managing Director Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) Lahore. As per the existing service rules, the post of DG EPA can be filled through promotion from amongst the directors. If none is available for promotion, the post can be filled either by initial recruitment or by transfer from Provincial Management Service (PMS)/All Pakistan Unified Group (APUG) officers. Dr Javed Iqbal is not a PMS/APUG officer and as such he did not fulfill the set criterion for posting as DG EPA.

Instead of correcting the mistake by transferring the DG, the EPD proposed changes in rules to allow him continue holding the office for a longer period.

In the meantime, the LHC directed removal of Dr Javed Iqbal and appointment of any other suitable officer as DG EPA.

After the court orders, the EPD forwarded revised summary to the Secretary Regulations. The previous summary suited Dr Javed Iqbal in such a way that no one fulfilled the criterion except him. In the revised summary, PMS/APUG officers were made eligible to hold the office. Besides these officers, any government officer of BPS-20 can be posted as DG, a clause that again bring Dr Javed Iqbal in picture.