ISI staff take chief to court over job confirmation

Islamabad, March 7: Four civilian employees of the spy agency ISI have approached the Islamabad High Court with complaints against its chief, Lt Gen Zahir-ul-Islam, in probably the first case of its kind in Pakistan's history.

The employees claimed in their application that Islam and other senior government officers should be charged with contempt of court for not acting on a ruling of the Islamabad High Court on regularising employees.

The four men, all Grade-18 officers, claimed they had been working on contract as junior analysts in the ISI for the past seven years. They claimed their contractual appointment was limited to five years, after which they were to be made permanent employees.

Along with other federal government employees, the four officers approached the Islamabad High Court late last year. On December 31, the court directed the government to "regularise the services of contract employees". A cabinet subcommittee supervised the process at various ministries and departments but the four ISI employees were not regularised.

They have now asked the High Court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Lt Gen Islam, Defence Secretary Lt Gen (retired) Asif Yasin Malik, Establishment Secretary Tamiur Azmat Usman and Khursheed Ahmed Shah, chairman of the cabinet subcommittee on regularising contractual employees.

They claimed the respondents did not comply with the High Court’s December 31 ruling. An unnamed ISI official told Dawn newspaper that contract appointments in the spy agency are different from those in other departments.

"Regular appointments can only be made after candidates complete competitive exams and undergo psychological and intelligence tests," he said. The four petitioners, the official claimed, "cannot get permanent positions in the ISI without going through these steps".


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