‘Obstructing Swiss cases earns Bhounr Chairman Sindh Public Service Commission post’

Mohammad Saleem Bhounr

Naimat Khan
KARACHI: Although those looking for bright future in civil services have put their hopes in the newly appointed Chairman Sindh Public Service Commission, sources in foreign office Islamabad claim the former career diplomat, Mohammad Saleem Bhounr, has been picked up for the post due to his services for the PPP top leadership in Switzerland.

His predecessor, Justice (R) Dr. Agha Rafiq Ahmed Khan, former Chief Justice, Federal Shariat Court of Pakistan, was appointed as Chairman SPSC on June 9, 2014 for the period of five years.

Justice Rafiq, under whom the SPSC last year conducted screening tests of 18,000 candidates for the Provincial Civil Services (PCS) examination for around 210 posts of excise and taxation, labor and section officers and assistant commissioners disallowed his own son and daughter-in-law to appear in the screening tests for the sake of his integrity.

But, he was reportedly forced to resign when he refused to endorse direct appointments, made by the PPP Sindh Government. “Mr Bhounr was the ultimate choice for PPP” told an official in the Sindh Public Service Commission, believing the new appointment was aimed at getting the unfinished job done.

However, those in Islamabad and being aware of his track record, corruption allegations against him through his career and above all his dubious role in hindering the court’s orders to resume the Swiss cases against former president and Co-chairman Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari, opines, the appointment has left one with little hope that he will meritoriously perform the daunting task ahead, the combined competitive examination 2014 that is likely to be held in March and April.

Hailing from Naushahro Feroze, the incumbent chairman SPSC, Mohammad Saleem Bhounr after serving in Pakistan Air Force selection centre and Foreign Service for almost 36 years, was appointed as ambassador of Pakistan in Switzerland, his last but most controversial stint.

Last year he was inducted to Sindh Public Service Commission (SPSC) as its member and after spending six months in the Commission with his predecessor, Justice (R) Agha Rafiq Ahmed, he managed to win the trust of PPP leadership in a short time as he was already in its good book, sources said.

“If this rich resume of trust was not enough, his blood relation with a PPP confidant earned him extra points”, sources said. Mohammad Saleem Bhounr’s Brother Gul Khan Bhounr, who had been looking after the financial matters of Pakistan People’s Party leadership, was given the security responsibility after Bilal Sheikh, Zardari’s top personal security officer in Karachi, got assassinated in a suicide attack on 10th June 2013.

In foreign Services, highly credible sources in Islamabad, told The Frontier Post that Mr Bhounr was superseded many times but finally returned back in BS-20 from where he with the blessing of ruling PPP, got the only ambassadorial assignment of his career.

After being posted as Pakistan ambassador in Berne during the peak time of Justice (R) Chaudhry Muhammad Iftikhar as Chief Justice of Pakistan, in which he sent pack home the then prime minister, Syed Yousif Raza Gilani, for the alleged contempt of court over non-execution of the court orders in Swiss Case, Bhounr was hindering the process at his end, sources claimed.

Back in the Swiss Capital Berne, Sources said, when a joiner officer, Hasnain Yousaf, who is now Deputy Director (Establishment-II) in Islamabad, tried to take the process ahead, he was not only stopped by Bhounr but called back through foreign office to Islamabad.

Later, in March 2013, Yousuf moved the apex court against the Foreign Office decision of recalling him to the country.

While citing the judgment in Anita Turab Case, he in his application stated the orders of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were not in accordance with the posting/transfer policy for the missions abroad, contained in Establishment Secretary’s DO letter No 1/24/78, CP of September 30, 1978, which stipulated that transfer between Pakistan and foreign countries should be made only after three years.

“But his fate was decided”, sources said.

At least two different sources in the Foreign office, while talking to this scribe confirmed that Hasnain Yousuf was in a spate with Saleem Bhounr over the issues relating to corrupt practices and mismanagement at Pakistan Embassy Bern.

To get the version of Yousaf, contact was made but without contracting his row with Bhounr over mismanagement and Swiss case said he would responding later.

The incumbent Chairman Sindh Public Service Commission was not available for the comments.

Originally Published here

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Author: Naimat

Karachi based journalist, writing on national and international issues.

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