Retired bureaucrat appointed Auditor General of Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The government has finally appointed a retired bureaucrat full-time Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) a constitutional post that remained vacant for about five months.

The Ministry of Finance notified on Tuesday the appointment of Javaid Jehangir, a former grade-22 officer of the Pakistan Audit and Accounts Services (PAAS), as AGP.

Mr Jehangir had attained the age of superannuation in November last year and may have to enjoy a full four-year term as AGP unless challenged through a tedious legal process.

“In exercise of the powers conferred on him under Article 168(1) of the Consti­tution of the Islamic Repub­lic of Pakistan, the President has been pleased to appoint Mr Javaid Jehangir to be the AGP with effect from the date he enters upon that office,” said the ministry’s notification.

In an unusual move, the AGP office, instead of the finance ministry, had early April this year forwarded a summary proposing four names, including Mr Jehangir’s, for appointment of one of them as AGP when the post fell vacant on April 8. The three others in the list were serving grade-22 PAAS officers Parveen Agha, Haq Nawaz and Imran Iqbal.

The summary was shelved after it had been pointed out in the media that the name of another senior officer, Shagufta Khanum, was excluded without any reason and the Prime Minister Office expressed its displeasure over the matter.

It was also highlighted in the media that the choice candidate, Mr Jehangir, had a charge-sheet to his record — allegations of financial irregularities as member finance of the Capital Development Authority — although he was not proceeded against.

The record also showed that the then-AGP had ignored the Establishment Division’s advice to proceed with the investigations and instead facilitated Mr Jehangir’s promotion to grade-22 before retirement. As a consequence of the controversy, the government appointed two acting AGPs — first Haq Nawaz for about 15 days and then Imran Iqbal for about 60 days.

Mr Jehangir has about 35 years of service to his credit as an officer of the PAAS and worked as deputy AGP before his retirement last year.

Article 168 requires that there should “be an Auditor General of Pakistan, who shall be appointed by the President. Before entering upon the office, the AGP shall make before the Chief Justice of Pakistan oath in the form set out in the Third Schedule”.

Under the same article, the AGP has a term of four years unless he sooner resigns or is removed from office through the Supreme Judicial Council or attains the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

The AGP is the keeper of the accounts of the federation and the provinces as well as of any authority or body established by the federation or a province. He has to give directions to keep the accounts in such form and in accordance with such principles and methods as the auditor general may, with the approval of the president, prescribe. The audit of such accounts is conducted by the auditor general who determines the extent and nature of such audit.

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Azhar Hashmi

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