Govt to finally appoint Chief Statistician at PBS

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Govt to finally appoint Chief Statistician at PBS

ISLAMABAD: In a bid to remove controversies over official figures, the government has moved a summary for seeking approval of Prime Minister Imran Khan for the appointment of Chief Statistician at the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), a post that was vacant for the last four years.

The appointment of Chief Statistician has become most important because the government wants to move ahead on holding a fresh population census in the country in 2022, ahead of the next general elections through the use of technology, so its spadework requires an appointment at the top level, which became the top priority of the government.

There are three major contenders for this top MP-1 position, including Naeem Ul Zafar, Malik Allah Baksh Awan and Hashim Populzai but Naeem Ul Zafar is on the top in the race at the moment. Naeem Ul Zafar had served in the Planning Commission as Member Social Sector in the past.

Dr. Ishrat Hussain-led committee interviewed the three candidates and now the summary is lying on the table of Prime Minister Imran Khan for getting his final nod.

“A panel of candidates has been finalized and a summary forwarded to Prime Minister Imran Khan for seeking his approval,” Secretary Planning Hamid Yaqoob confirmed when contacted by The News last week.

After getting so-called autonomy one decade back in 2011, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics was in a pathetic position as in the last nine years its rules could not be devised. So officers got stuck up when they reached at Grade 20 position.

The posts of Members of PBS are also falling vacant at the moment. Sarwar Gondal, who is the Member Services Support, also holds the position of Resource Management (RM) and his tenure is going to be completed on July 17, 2021. “So far, no advertisement has been given for appointment on two posts, including Members Support Services and Resource Management, because lobbying is underway to get the appointment of Gondal through an extension,” said the sources.

The extension under the law and Peshawar High Court judgment cannot be granted until the appointment of Chief Statistician.

The post of Member Economic Statistics is also falling vacant at the PBS. Ijaz Wasti holds the position of Member National Accounts but he never preferred to come to public to defend the figures produced by the National Accounts on account of GDP growth for the last financial year.

The post of Chief Statistician had fallen vacant on July 4, 2017 when Asif Bajwa completed his tenure after reaching the age of 65 years. Then the government had appointed him as Adviser atPBS for accomplishing the task of population census.

After the tenure by Asif Bajwa, the post of Chief Statistician had fallen vacant. Although, efforts were made to fill in the post but every time it ended up with failure, one top official said. Now the whole process has been accomplished and it seems that the Chief Statistician’s position would be filled soon.