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User Name: AliSyed
Full Name: Ali Syed
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Punjab food department a den for bribery

·         Sunday, 23 June 2013 00:00


Punjab food department a den for bribery

·         Zeeshan Javaid

ISLAMABAD: The Punjab food department has been occupied by the provincial bureaucracy and blue-eyed officers of the Mian brothers, who made the entire department a house of corruption and financial embezzlements, where millions of rupees of the national exchequer were disbursed amongst the staff, everyone from the peon to the Provincial Secretary Food getting a share of the spoils.
The Sharif brothers have ruled Punjab since 1988, and in those 25 years, rather than the levels of corruption in the food department being controlled, they have increased by the day. The main reason behind this spiraling corruption is alleged to be the accommodation of the people in the Sharif Brothers’ camp, bypassing the merit and good governance principles that the Punjab government under Shahbaz Sharif so vehemently claims to uphold.
The grains of wheat, which is the basic source of food to live for the common man, prove no less than precious pearls for the officers of the food department when the wheat crop is readied for purchase and sale by the provincial governments.
The importance of this particular department for civil servants can be gauged by the fact that hefty amounts of bribery are circulated amongst the bureaucrats dealing with the employment opportunities in the department,
A senior officer of the food department, while sharing his experiences during his 30 year service, revealed that the rates for the appointments against the announced and un-announced posts in food department were set, which varied with time and duty stations, adding ‘’the amount of Rs. 500,000 to 800,000 under head of bribery was set for the appointment on the post of Supervisor; Rs. 800,000 to Rs.1.2 million for Food Inspector; Rs. 1 million to Rs. 1.5 million for the post of Assistant Food Controller (AFC), while the amount of Rs. 4-4.5 million was set for posting and promotion of Deputy Directors.’’
It was also learnt that the hefty bribery amount against the new appointments from grade 1 to 15 goes directly into the pocket of the Deputy Director, who is the competent authority for transfer/posting and appointment in the same grades; however, the same services on higher posts have been provided directly by provincial secretary food against whopping amounts of bribery.
One good thing which was done by the former Punjab government 2008-2013 under the chair of Mian Shahbaz Sharif was that the appointment to Inspector Food and Assistant Food Controller (AFC) was authorized to Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), which definitely brought down the graph of corruption, however the transfer/promotion is still directly the discretion of Secretary Food for the higher posts and Deputy Director for the posts from grades 1 to 15.
Another sitting senior official nearing his retirement, on condition of anonymity, alleged that the era of former Director Food, Imtiaz Tajwar, and Secretary Food, Irfan Elahi, had been the most corrupt tenure. Interestingly, both the bureaucrats remained favourites of Mian brothers during their governments.
The power of these bureaucrats could be observed by the fact that former Director Food Imtiaz Tajwar is the younger brother of Brigadier Ret. Iqbal Tajwar, the security in-charge of the atomic scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan.
It was also revealed that former director Tajwar was allegedly involved in grabbing millions of rupees through approximately Rs. 1-2 per bag for the allocation of wheat across the Punjab. Similarly he lined his pockets with millions through postings/transfers/promotions of the upgrade officers including Abdul Hameed Rind from Storage officer (SO) to District Food Controller (DFC), Shabbir Alvi from SO to Assistant Director but now working as Deputy Director food Dera Ghazi Khan (DG Khan), Ibrahim Dasti from SO to DFC later retired as Assistant Director, Abdul Hafeez Khan promoted as DFC but later retired Assistant Director Food (ADF).
Similarly the former Secretary Food Irfan Elahi, who is a close buddy of Mian Brothers, promoted more than 40 officers including his favourites such as Sharjeel Mirza as Assitant Director Food (ADF), Shamim Joiya, Assistant Director Food Sahiwal working as Deputy Director and Ch. Javaid Gujjar, Assistant Director Sahiwal, on higher posts during his tenure against hefty perks & financial benefits.      
It was also revealed that an inquiry was held in 2001 against the former bureaucrat, Junaid Iqbal, Secretary Food, due to his negligence and bad governance in stocking the wheat, which resultantly damaged thousands of tons wheat due to exposure in an open storage facility.
Another former Secretary Food, Riaz Khan, was forcefully retired before completing his service tenure after the verdict of Multan High Court (MHC) due to his alleged involvement in awarding a transportation of wheat contract to his close buddy by misusing his power.  
The PML-N government stands tall on rhetoric but will have to walk the walk when it comes to improving governance from lower to upper level, by eliminating the practices of rampant corruption and upholding the sacred values of merit through the elimination of appointments through bribery. 

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