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LAHORE: The Chief Meteorologist, Director Islamabad and Regional Director of Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) Peshawar have been removed from service, penalized with compulsory retirement and censure respectively by the competent authority, said reliable sources.

According to a notification, copy available with Business Recorder, disciplinary proceedings were carried out and finalized under Civil Servant (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules 2020 against Syed Mushtaq Ali Shah, Chief Meteorologist (BS-20), the Prime Minister of Pakistan/Authority reached the conclusion that the charges against the officer have been established and therefore he was removed from service.

He stands relieved with immediate effect with the direction to deposit embezzled money amounting Rs.7.278 million into government treasury immediately.

Similarly, the competent authority has relieved another Jan Muhammad, Director (BS-19), PMD from service after imposing penalty of compulsory retirement as charges against him were established.

The competent authority also imposed the penalty of censure against Alam Zeb, Deputy Director (BS-18), regional meteorological centres, Peshawar, after finalization of disciplinary proceedings against him.

It may be noted that corruption has been hallmark of PMD over the past few years. Already, the two outgoing director generals (DGs), including Ghulam Rasool and Muhammad Riaz Khan are attending corruption inquiries by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

In addition, the PMD has been a victim of internal feuds as well as politics, ending up on cancellation, suspension and inordinate delays in many crucial projects.

A startling example, said the sources, was the World Bank-sponsored project for the installation of automatic weather systems at tehsil level throughout the country. They said the project has been in jeopardy over the last five years due to the vested interests of both the DGs.

According to the sources, former DG Ghulam Rasool had opposed the project simply because his spouse was an employee of Pakistani embassy in China. They said the DG Rasool was in favour of acquiring a similar technology from China under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

However, it could not be materialized and Pakistan had to suffer from undue delay in carrying out the project, which is now prime focus of Federal Minister for Climate Change and the project is likely to be in place by next one year.

Similarly, said the sources, former DG Muhammad Riaz Khan had also been obstructing the project on the whimsical excuse that he would be blamed for pushing the country into a debt trap of World Bank. Accordingly, he put the project on the backburner throughout his tenure and now facing inquiries for irregularities for protecting his subordinates against their established corruption.

The present DG Mehr Sahibzad Khan has been given additional charge of the project by the federal government for early completion of the project keeping in view the climatic threats to the country, a few signs of which have been witnessed during recent monsoon rains in Sindh and Balochistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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