Saga of PSO MD’s tenure

ISLAMABAD: Authorities and judges would decide whether or not Managing Director Pakistan State Oil Irfan Qureshi’s tenure ends on February 22 (today), documents show his initial lawful notification was for two years only.Qureshi in his own words was carrying a notification in his briefcase that states that he was appointed for three years term that ends on February 2012. But he was unable to deny the fact that the first notification dated February 23, 2009, appointed him on contract basis for a period of two years ending today (Tuesday February 22, 2011).Even prior to this notification of February 23 there was story behind the appointment of Qureshi. Copies of official documents available with Online clearly indicate that soft corners in power corridors managed to move summary proposal for his appointment as MD PSO in January 2009. It is necessary to make it clear that Qureshi was an intruder into the PSO and as he used to work in an American petroleum company.Here comes a million dollars’ question that can a technocrat hoodwink a bureaucrat? The answer is ‘no’. The Establishment Division through its communication dated January 16, 2009, sought recruitment rules for the post of MD PSO. This alarm prompted the Prime Minister’s Secretariat, as well, and they preferred to bring it on record that “it has been desired that a penal of three persons may be submitted for appointment against the subject post.”It is pertinent to note here that the set of Establishment rules of the Federal government named Estacode clearly prescribes that the MD’s tenure in the state-owned entities would not be more than two years. The rules also provide for an extension that too on two-year term basis. It is also on record that none of his predecessors’ got a three-year term but all were appointed on two-year tenure.

Eventually, the Petroleum Ministry proposed a penal of three wherein name of Mr Qureshi was on third position. But he ought to be selected out of those three as Kaleem A Siddiqui and Naveed Alam Zubairi both hailing from the PSO cadre could not be lucky more than just becoming part of that penal. PSO cadre employees have a genuine grievance here that none of them could succeed to the post of MD despite qualifying for that and outsiders remained grabbing it throughout the last decade at least.Once getting control of mega state-owned entity that still enjoys monopoly over diesel even after the so-called deregulation of the petroleum sector, Mr Qureshi moved smartly. As per the documents, he secured the Prime Minister’s blanket approval to a proposal initiated by Chairman PSO with the subject heading of “terms and conditions” of MD’s appointment. Having terms and conditions including 3-year tenure of MD approved by the Prime Minister, Mr Qureshi got his notification of February 23, 2009 amended through another notification of the Petroleum Ministry. The Ministry’s notification dated May 12, 2009 stated that the word “two years” in Feb 23 notification may be read as “three years.”

Hence the sources claimed with documentary evidences that there was no such notification that had clearly appointed Mr Qureshi for three years. Perhaps knowing this weakness, in bureaucratic terms, he was here Monday night reportedly struggling to secure his job beyond February 22, 2011 when his term ends under the initial notification. While contacted Qureshi was confident that his tenure was for three years and “if the government would ask me to go before that I’ll certainly look for another job,” he said.Talking to Online he brushed aside the impression that he was in the capital for his job’s confirmation. “I am staying back after meeting with the Prime Minister for PSO’s receivables to expedite his orders of Rs 30 billions’ immediate releases – Onlionenews