Zartaj Gul withdraws letter to NACTA on PM Imran’s directives

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul Wazir to withdraw a letter penned to the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta) for the appointment of her sister Shabnam Gul as its director.
In a tweet, senior Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Naeemul Haque said the prime minister had made it clear that no one in the PTI government could promote their relatives or friends by using their positions.
“This [Zartaj’s letter] was against the ethics of PTI which has always opposed nepotism,” he added.
On February 27, Zartaj’s principal staff officer Samiul Haq wrote a letter to Interior Secretary Major (retd) Azam Suleman Khan.
Haq referred to the telephonic conversation between the interior secretary and the state minister and asked him to take “necessary action” for Shabnam’s appointment to Nacta.
A grade-18 officer, Shabnam Gul was serving as assistant professor at Lahore College for Women University (LCWU). Her appointment as a grade-19 director in Nacta is on deputation for three years.
The announcement of her appointment came under severe criticism from journalists and citizens.
All through Saturday, social media remained abuzz with comments on the manner of Shabnam’s appointment as pictures of the letter sent by Zartaj Gul did the rounds on Twitter and other platforms.
According to one report, Shabnam and another researcher of the University Oriental College’s Department of Kashmir Studies had plagiarised from KH Khursheed’s MA in Kashmiryat thesis titled, “KH Khursheed, life and services” and his research paper “Political parties of Kashmir” in their joint book titled: “Tarikh-e-Kashmir-1947 to date” published in 2006.
According to Shabnam’s CV, she is still working on a final thesis for internal and external evaluation for her PhD in political science on the topic of “War Against Terrorism: A case study of Pakistan 2001-2013”.
Zartaj took to Twitter to respond to the criticism, sharing the Nacta’s “clarification” on the matter.
“Nacta’s comprehensive clarification blowing away the nonsense being peddled in a section of the local media regarding supposed breach of merit,” she said.
“One cannot disenfranchise a deserving candidate just because they happen to be related to a government minister.”
In the statement, Nacta said Shabnam’s appointment was solely based on merit.
Nacta Deputy Director Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Talpur maintained that 12 federal and provincial officers between grades 17 and 19 had submitted applications for deputation.
He said Shabnam was among six shortlisted candidates and her appointment was then confirmed by a four-member committee.
Rejecting all media reports as baseless, the official asserted that Shabnam’s services were being sought on merit.

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