ISLAMABAD - At a time when religious intolerance is at its peak in the country, National Harmony Ministry, working under the administrative control of Minister In-charge Dr Paul Bhatti, has so far failed, apparently due to incompetence, to organise the 1st International Interfaith Conference, ignoring approval of the Prime Minister.
Firstly, the government had asked the ministry to organise the conference in the 4th week of April, 2012, however ‘the efficient ministry’ and its bureaucracy could not meet the deadline and date was extended till the first week of May. The ministry could not fulfill this extended deadline and again it was decided that the conference would be held in July but this deadline was also missed.
A source in the ministry said that the ministry had got approval of Rs 20 million funds from the federal government and the Finance Ministry to hold the conference but neither the conference was held nor these funds were utilised for this purpose.
The ministry also hired the services of consultant Dr Mohammad Abdaal Bela to hold this international conference that is a renowned fiction writer and author of more than 27 books and has the experience of four international conferences to his credit. Dr Bela worked in the ministry for more than three months and unfortunately a single penny was not paid to him and resultantly he got disappointed and left the job.
The ministry had appointed Dr Abdaal Bela, former DG of Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) with the approval of the selection board after advertising the post with the compensation package of Rs 0.5 million for three month. The summary for the approval was sent to Prime Minister after he got the charge of his duties.
“I worked in the ministry as consultant for more than three months to hold the International Interfaith Conference but I was neither paid any salary, nor provided transport facility and telephone allowance,” he said while talking to The Nation. He said that he got disappointed with the behaviour of the bureaucracy in the ministry and now had stopped going to his office in the ministry. “I did not work in the ministry voluntarily. The minister and then secretary of the ministry Javed Ahmed Awan had committed with me that you would be paid and he should start work from March 14,” he said. He informed that he had made the budget for the conference and the same was approved.
Minister In-charge National Harmony Ministry Dr Paul Bhatti said there was no negligence on his part and the dates of the conference had to change one after the other due to the disqualification of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani by Supreme Court and the ministry was working without a secretary at that time. He said the ministry had sent a fresh summary to the PM Secretariat for approval to hold the conference in the fist week of December. About Dr Bela’s salary and perk and privileges, he said that Prime Minister had not given approval for the appointment of consultant in the ministry.
However, he could not give the answer why his post-appointment summary was sent for approval and only said that he voluntarily did his job.