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EOBI appoints forced retired, ill and under-probe officer in key post

Muhammad Pervaiz Kaleem has been appointed as Director General (Operations) North. Source: MM News/ Online.

KARACHI: The Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI), a sub-department of the Government of Pakistan under the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis, had appointed controversial officer Muhammad Pervaiz Kaleem as Director General (Operations) North.

According to notification No. 225/2021 dated Sept 23, 2021, issued by EOBI Human Resources Director General, Muhammad Kaleem Pervaiz has been transferred as DG Operations North with immediate effect.

Kaleem Pervaiz was appointed on July 3, 1989, on the recommendation of then Federal Minister for Labour and Manpower Mukhtar Ahmed Awan as Deputy Director against EOBI regulations. Kaleem Pervaiz, an MBA degree holder from Bahauddin Zakaria University, Multan, was earlier recruited for the lower grade (BPS 16) post of Executive Director but failed the written test.

After being recruited for a key post in EOBI, Kaleem Pervaiz (Employee No. 916790) was based at EOBI Zonal Office Lahore and Islamabad besides Regional Office Chakwal, Multan, Lahore, Patoki, Lahore North, Manga Mandi, B&C Lahore, B&C Islamabad and Adjudicating Authority Lahore in key posts.

The PPP government appointed Zafar Iqbal Gondal as EOBI Chairman from 2010 to 2013 during which he recruited hundreds of party workers on political grounds. Kaleem Pervaiz was appointed as member of the selection committee in Punjab and numerous officers and employees were recruited without any written tests and interviews.

Mubashir Razi Jaffrey, General Secretary, EOBI Employees Federation of Pakistan (CBA), had filed a constitutional petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan in June 2011 against the recruitment of 400 people on key posts. EOBI Chairman Zafar Iqbal Gondal retaliated against him and his colleague Senior Assistant Ahmed Anjum and immediately dismissed him from EOBI, while other officers who had shown loyalty to them were transferred to remote places.

Gondal also threatened Mubashir Razi Jaffrey and his associates to face serious consequences to stop them from pursuing this constitutional petition. He appeared before the full bench Supreme Court while the EOBI’s management continued to pay huge sums from the pension fund for the case.

The full bench headed by Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali delivered a landmark judgment on March 17, 2014, out of the 385 officers and employees out of 400 political recruitments were fired immediately. On this occasion, some senior officers of the EOBI HR department manipulated the list of recruited PPP workers and saved 42 of them who are still illegally holding key positions in the EOBI.

The apex court had also ordered immediate dismissal of 358 officers and employees and also directed NAB to file a reference against those responsible for the recruitment. NAB conducted an investigation and submitted a report to the SCP against then Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, Chairman EOBI Zafar Iqbal Gondal and ten EOBI officers in the selection committee. The case is still pending in an Accountability Court in Islamabad and despite all statements of witnesses and prosecution has not reached its logical conclusion.

A notification of the appointments by EOBI. Source: MM News.
A notification of the appointments by EOBI. Source: MM News.

As a member of the selection committee, Kaleem Pervaiz was involved in the recruitment of 138 officers in the EOBI including Azeem-ul-Haq Minhas, son-in-law of then Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf. He was appointed on the lucrative post of Deputy Director General Islamabad.

Kaleem Pervaiz was issued a charge sheet on December 17, 2014, against allegations of illegal recruitment. On August 13, 2015, Additional Secretary Finance Division, Shujaat Ali, initiated an inquiry into the illegal recruitment case. Kaleem Pervaiz objected to the eligibility of the Inquiry Officer to avoid the inquiry but finally appeared on January 17, 2016. The CBI reviewed all the allegations against Kaleem Pervaiz and found them to be true.

After a report of the Inquiry Officer, Kaleem Pervaiz was asked to appear for personal hearing on November 16, 2016, but he did on appear on the pretext of illness. The record shows that from November 14, 2017, to May 22, 2019, he was provided at least ten opportunities for personal hearing. On May 24, 2019, Kaleem Pervaiz filed a petition in the Lahore High Court. The court issued orders to give him a proper hearing and reconsider his role in the matter.

It is learned that Kaleem Pervaiz is currently seriously ill and a medical attendant is always with him for emergencies. He has also hired a personal assistant to carry out his official duties. However, the EOBI management has given him the important post of Director General (Operations) which includes daily meetings with employers and visits to EOBI and other relevant offices. Sources said that Kaleem Pervaiz managed to in securing this key post on the recommendation of Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi who also hails from Multan.

On July 10, 2019, Kaleem Pervaiz was forced to retire after serious violations of rules and regulations, incompetence and negligence and deliberately harming the interests of EOBI. The detailed notification of his removal consists of 15 pages, several junior officers have put off the implementation of the order until Kaleem Pervaiz’s retirement on February 14, 2022.