ISLAMABAD                  -          Appointment of permanent head of the Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) is hanging in balance for last 10 months, while the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) promoted the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in previous dates, The Nation learnt on Wednesday.

The position of the top head of DRAP is vacant since March 2019, when the earlier permanent head of the department was removed on having dubious PhD degree.

Officials informed The Nation that the ministry instead of adopting regular promotion procedures and filling the top position opted to continue with the acting set-up for last two months.

Officials also said that rules and regulations for the appointment of acting head were also manipulated to continue with the ad-hoc set-up.

Officials said that despite of Establishment Division’s notification to the Ministry of NHS on rules and procedures for the appointment of top head, the ministry gave promotion to the sitting acting CEO DRAP in previous dates to continue with him.

Officials said that the acting CEO Asim Rauf who opted for Regulatory Officer (RO) scale leaving the BPS was promoted in previous dates on the rules of civil servants which were in contradiction of rules and regulations.

The notification issued about adoption of RO scale by 94 officers of DRAP and available with The Nation said that option of the RO scale was “irrevocable.”

Acting CEO of DRAP Asim Rauf was on 23rd number out of 94 officers in the list and he opted RO-13 scale from Deputy Director BS-18 in the list notified on April 19th 2016.

Later on, the ministry in 2018 gave him ante-date promotion under Federal Service Tribunal rules.

The notification issued by Director Admin Dr. Obaidullah said “In compliance to Federal Service Tribunal, Islamabad orders dated of M/o National Health Services Regulations and Coordination letter No.F.6-3/2015-DRAP/NHSR&C (Vol-III) dated 09.01.2018, the competent authority has been pleased to grant Ante-Date Promotion to Mr. Asim Rauf, Additional Director (RO-14), DRAP from the date when his juniors were promoted i.e. 07.09.2009 with all consequential benefits. Resultantly, the officer, inter-alia shall retain his inter-se-seniority as in the lower post.”

Meanwhile, the Establishment Division regarding promotion of DRAP officers said that they are not civil servants.

The memorandum issued to Ministry of NHS said “employees of Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan are not civil servants within the meaning of Section 2(1) (b) of the Civil Servants Act, 1973.”

It added that their terms and conditions are governed under Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Employees Service Regulations), 2013. Section 9 of the Civil Servants Act, 1973 provides that a civil servant possessing such minimum qualifications as may be prescribed shall be eligible for promotion to a higher post for the time being reserved under the rules for departmental promotion in the service or cadre to which he belongs.

Further, promotions are made with immediate effect in the prescribed manner on the recommendations of appropriate DPC/DSB and with the approval of appointing authority as the case may be, as it involves charge relinquishment of lower post and assumption of the higher post.

It added that ministry is advised that departmental authority may examine and decide the matter independently in the light of law/rules/policy attracted in the case.

Spokesperson Ministry of NHS Sajid Shah said that some of the candidates for the DRAP top slot are contesting in court.

He said that permanent appointment will be done following the transparent rules and regulations.