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.