VC fails to transfer a social welfare officer

PIMS mafia more powerful than management

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—Lucrative posts are not easily vacated, be they in the Federal Secretariat concerning all powerful secretaries or a healthcare facility like Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) related with a social welfare officer. PIMS social welfare department handles funds of around Rs300 million a year and the social welfare officer there, is tasked with supervision and disbursement of these funds. This he has been doing for the last 24 years. Throughout these years, a number of complaints were lodged and inquiries held against him regarding poor utilization/embezzlement of these funds, zero output of the social welfare department of the hospital etc, but each time the officer in charge is given clean chit.
Besides funds’ embezzlement, this was also leveled against Mr Tariq Mehmood, that he doesn’t possess the required qualification (MA Social Work or Sociology or even MPA) for holding such key post.
Recently, Vice Chancellor PIMS Dr Javed Akram issued transfer orders of Mr Tariq Mehmood but according to sources, the powerful mafia at the back of Mr Tariq Mehmood did not let the orders implement and the officer is still working on that seat. It may be mentioned that transfer orders were issued on March 8, 2016 and despite passage of over four months compliance of the order is yet to be made.
Besides the allegations leveled against the Social Welfare Officer by some union leaders, a large number of patients and their attendants are also unhappy with the department. They complain of absence of wheel chairs, water coolers and above all medicines required from the hospital through social welfare department of the hospital.
In 2015 Federal Ombudsperson’s report about PIMS also pointed out major flaws saying “all is not well with the country’s premiere tertiary healthcare facility in Islamabad.”
According to the report “Daily, around 5,000 patients visit PIMS Out-Patient Department (OPD) but half of them return unattended and untreated.” Coming back to the transfer orders of the said officer, whose copy is with Pakistan Observer as well, the order states that Mr Tariq Mehmood Social Welfare Officer, Islamabad Hospital is immediately transferred to the Children’s Hospital and Mr Shamas-ud-Din will be In Charge of the Islamabad Hospital’s social welfare department. Dr Javed Akram when contacted by Pakistan Observer about compliance of the order, said transfer order was issued but whether the said officer has been relieved of his duties or not is not in his knowledge.
As I am out of office I can clearly tell you on Tuesday (today), he said. Mr Tariq Mehmood when approached for comments said he had been smoothly running the social welfare department for over 24 years. “Some elements with vested interests want me removed from this post so that they could manipulate the Rs300 million funds through their planted men,” he said. He said the said orders were also issued on their personal request to the VC otherwise the PIMS management had no problem with him. To a question, he said he was still working as Social Welfare Officer of the Islamabad Hospital of the PIMS. About funds embezzlement, he said the annual grant of Rs300 million is regularly audited. “Since the major source of the grant is zakat money donated by Baitul Maal, Pakistan Baitul Maal also supervises its disbursement and everything is done in a transparent manner,” he said.

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