Minister has the final word
ISLAMABAD, Aug 17: In the end, the powers of Federal Minister for Regulations and Services Division have prevailed as she has ensured that an official who brought her bad name before the Supreme Court over a petty dispute stands removed.
On Aug 10, the Establishment Division had removed Dr Qazi Abdul Saboor as the CEO of the Drug Regulatory Agency of Pakistan (DRAP) on the request of Minister of Regulations Dr Firdaus Ashiq Awan. However, within hours the division withdrew its notification without assigning any reasons.
Now exactly one week later, Dr Awan’s strong connections with the Presidency and the Prime Minister’s House have helped her in securing his removal order the second time.
The charge of DRAP has now been given to Mr Farooq Fahim, a civil servant and joint secretary.
Dr Saboor’s removal has also paved the way for the regulations division’s secretary to publish a new advertisement for hiring a professional individual for the post of CEO of the DRAP.
“We are set to give the advertisement in a week’s time since we need a professional individual for the post of CEO,” said an official of the minister’s office.
Dr Saboor took over the reins of the powerful regulatory authority of the country’s drug industry in May this year but soon after developed serious differences with the minister.
The official said that the wrangling between Dr Awan and Dr Saboor led to the degeneration of the DRAP.
“Work at DRAP has suffered as the two were not even on talking terms with each other,” said the official.
“Dr Awan was furious with Dr Saboor who is alleged to have instigated deputy director-general drug Mohammad Tanvir to convey to the court that she was victimising him,” the official added.
Mr Tanvir is a key witness in the ephedrine scam and on August 1 he had alleged before the Supreme Court that he was being harassed by Dr Awan and Dr Abdul Rashid, an administration member and a close confidant of the minister.
Mr Tanvir termed his transfer to Gilgt-Baltistan by the DRAP management as “victimisation by the government” and took relief from the apex court which blocked his posting orders.
However, Dr Saboor had also informed the court that he was asked to leave his post as CEO of DRAP since he was helping the Anti-Narcotics Force in the ephedrine case.
The apex court while directing Dr Saboor had said: “In future if such an event happened at the cost of his cooperation in investigation in the ephedrine case, the director-general may move an application which shall be decided after taking into consideration the relevant rules on subject.”
A source close to Dr Saboor said that he would seek relief from the apex court since the Supreme Court had ordered the official to file a petition in case he was removed from his position.
A senior official of the regulations division told Dawn: “Dr Saboor was asked by the secretary of regulations division Imtiaz Inayat Elahi to play a positive role and resolve all his differences with Ms Awan.”
Dr Saboor, he said, was not convinced with Mr Elahi’s assurances and decided on his own to give a statement before the court.
Despite multiple attempts, both Dr Awan and the outgoing CEO of the DRAP Dr Saboor were not available for their comments.