Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has officially commissioned Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to screen government officials before their induction, appointments and postings, as well as promotions, according to a news outlet.
Dawn’s report said that in doing so, “the government gave legal cover to a practice that was already in place, but had not been formalized as part of the protocol.”
In a notification, the Establishment Division said: “In exercising the powers conferred by subsection 1 of section 25 of the Civil Servants Act 1973, read with Notification No. SRO 120 ( 1) / 1998, the Prime Minister is pleased to notify General Directorate of Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) as a Special Verification Agency (SVA) for the verification and screening of all public office holders (category of officers).”
A Division of Establishment official told Dawn News that both the ISI and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) send their reports on officials before they are assigned to important assignments.
The reports are notably addressed to the Central Selection Board (CSB) at the time of the promotion of bureaucrats.
The practice continued even though superior courts had, in a few cases in the past, dismissed such intelligence reports while noting that there was no statutory provision in the Civil Servants Act that made the screening of officials by the agencies.
The official told Dawn News that despite the notification, the IB will continue to send its reports as per routine.
The official said that since the government has now given legal effect to the reports published by the ISI, these could now be used in court as a valid legal document.
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