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The Express Tribune Editorial 2 July 2020

Hiring for DISCOs


Some aspirants for the post of independent directors of the Board of Directors of 10 power distribution companies have submitted a written complaint to the Prime Minister alleging favouritism and lack of transparency in the ongoing hiring process for the above-mentioned vacancies. The complainants say, “Without any proper and plausible criteria of short-listing the candidates on merit — retired chief executive officers of power distribution companies and others have been called for online interviews while ignoring experts, experienced and qualified candidates.” All the complainants are retired professionals.
The Ministry of Energy advertised on Nov 24, 2019 the vacancies for distribution companies based in Islamabad, Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Gujranwala, Quetta, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Peshawar and tribal areas. Directors of some of the companies’ BoDs, however, continued to occupy their positions much beyond their tenures. Though the vacancies for the posts of directors of the four above-mentioned companies were initially advertised on May 26, 2019, those who had applied were asked to apply again in the November 2019 advertisement.
In the initial advertisement, it was stated that candidates registered with the Pakistan Institute of Corporate Governance would be given preference but the requirement was waived in the November 2019 advertisement. The complainants have alleged that no proper boards of interview with members drawn from engineering, management, finance and corporate law have been constituted to interview the applicants. They claim the online interviews were a mere formality and those who could pull the strings in right places would only be appointed They have asked the PM to cancel the ongoing hiring process, advertise the vacancies afresh, and appoint a reputed consultant firm to carry out the appointment process in order to ensure transparency in the hiring process.


First female Lt-Gen


Pakistan just got its first female lieutenant general, breaking a massive glass ceiling in the process. The army announced that Major General Nigar Johar, an army doctor who is currently the commandant of Pak-Emirates Military Hospital in Rawalpindi, has been promoted. In another first, she will be posted as the surgeon general of the Pakistan Army. No woman has held that position before. She was already just the third woman to rise to the rank of major general after Shahida Malik, who retired in 2004, and Shahida Badshah, who retired in 2013. Still, keeping with the trend of ‘firsts’, Johar was also the first female major general not named Shahida. Making her story all the more interesting is that she hails from the relatively conservative Swabi area, although most of her education was in Rawalpindi.
Indeed, it is a story that all Pakistanis can get behind. Praise for the decision came from all the major opposition parties, with the focus being on how inspirational Lt Gen Johar’s story is for women and young girls. Indeed, her success is proof that women can rise to top jobs in this country, despite the stigmas and taboos that they must face. As Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif said, her promotion sends “a powerful message to our girls and women to aspire for the impossible in life”.
While it is true that even today, many women will face unfair and unnecessary hurdles in their professional lives, inspirational women such as Lt Gen Johar will be the key to shattering the patriarchy. The fact that she has reached such a senior position in the military — considered a boys’ club in every country of the world — only makes this story better. It will also encourage women to join the military because they will know for a fact that they can also rise to the top if they are good at their jobs. Indeed, it will also be inspiring for the women currently serving in the forces to know that one day, they might emulate Johar.


100,000 recoveries


In an encouraging sign in the fight against Covid-19 in Pakistan, the number of patients having recovered from the deadly disease has crossed the hundred thousand mark. As of mid-day on Wednesday, as many as 100,802 Covid-19 patients stood recovered from among a total of 213,470 patients across the country. The number of recoveries, thus, comes to something around 47% of the total cases of the lethal infection. In a breakup, Sindh takes the lead in the number of recoveries. At 46,824, the number of patients having defeated the virus in Sindh is 46,824 — a figure which makes up 46% of the total recoveries across the country. In a distant second, 27,488 Covid-19 patients are fortunate enough to have come out of the illness in Punjab, in what accounts for 27% of the recoveries countrywide.
So, as we speak about the recovery of nearly half of the virus-infected patients, it is time to acknowledge the invaluable services of our frontline fighters, including doctors, nurses and paramedics, who continue to risk their lives for the sake of saving the lives of others. According to figures compiled by the medical fraternity, at least 63 healthcare practitioners — including 52 doctors, six nurses and several technicians — have laid down their lives fighting the virus while hundreds of others have fallen sick. Not to be forgotten are the staff of welfare organisations like Edhi, Chhipa and others who brave the dangerous microbe as they attend to the Covid-19 patients during their shifting to hospitals.
And while much has already been written on the unfavourable working conditions — dangerous in some instances — that our medical fraternity has had to bear with, it’s indeed time to remind the authorities of the lack of staff, shortage of PPEs, unavailability of equipment like oxygen cylinders and ventilators, disappearance of drugs from the markets, and absence of any monetary motivations for healthcare workers. These are the controllable factors that are otherwise adding to the risks associated with Covid-19. But despite all odds, our selfless frontline fighters have been fighting on and on since February 26 when the coronavirus crossed into our borders.
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