The caretaker federal government has appointed a grade 19 PAS officer, Sadia Haider, for the CDA member planning role. This move comes instead of opting for a qualified professional town planner for the crucial role in city master planning.
CDA Member Planning Role Decision
Before finalizing the appointment, the government sought concurrence from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The Member Planning position, traditionally reserved for a professional town planner due to its involvement in master planning and city development, has now seen a deviation from the norm with the appointment of Sadia Haider.
The new appointee replaces Waseem Hayat Bajwa, a grade 20 officer with a background in town planning from the Inland Revenue Service. Mr. Bajwa and other board members were recently transferred under the directives of the ECP.
Sources suggest that the ECP’s role in the appointment process is to ensure a candidate with a good reputation is selected from a list, rather than assessing technical competency for the specific role. While Sadia Haider is acknowledged for her positive initiatives and excellent reputation, concerns arise due to her lack of a town planning background.
Notably, Chief Justice Athar Minallah of the Islamabad High Court had previously emphasized the need to appoint professionals to technical posts. Suggestions are now being made that, following town planners, professional engineers could be considered for the Member Planning role.
CDA’s Views on the New CDA Member Planning Role
An official from the CDA highlighted that the civic agency already has three professional town planners in grade 19. If there is a shortage of officers in grade 20 with town planning expertise, the government could consider appointing one of the existing CDA officers, ensuring the role is filled by a qualified professional.
Simultaneously, the ECP has given concurrence for the posting of Shahzad Khalil, a grade 19 PAS officer, as Member Environment of the CDA. These appointments raise questions about the alignment of qualifications with the technical demands of the roles, fueling discussions about the prioritization of professionalism in key positions.