By Syed Shams Uddin
As appearing in social media on seventh October, contingent paid employees of G-B have threatened with a sit-in at Ghari Bagh Gilgit if their demands are not met by fifteenth October 2018. This reminds this scribe of the travails of two poor employees of MCC GB, and how they are literally caught in a maelstrom being continuously discriminated against and being in what may be called deep sh*t despite spending their prime youth in the service of the department by serving continuously and assiduously, working even without taking any vacation remain subject to great nonchalance and rather deliberate remiss whereby they are made subject to a long trail of injustice and discrimination. Being consigned to a limbo by turning them daily-wage-earners so callously without adjusting them horizontally against regular class-iv post retrospectively in an utter disregard to their fulfilling the then basic criteria at the time of preliminary induction in 1986 and 2004 while posts in the said category created against the regular budget and those falling vacant from time to time during late eighties and the nineties were whimsically and rather apathetically filled in by appointment of outsiders casting to the wind their supplications by sheer prevarications and bureaucratic tergiversations – something getting underway till today to their detriment, on one pretext or the other, that all makes the affectees increasingly despondent about the way things are going –
In short, the a telling argument is how both the humble creatures meeting the basic recruitment criterion to posts in the then BS-1 and 2 id est 8th class pass during 1986 and 2004 respectively besides additional experience of long tireless working that otherwise, unquestionably vested in them the right to a regular job were oppressively divested of it, laments Negehban Ali Sustik, the eldest son of Dostan Ali one of the affectees.
QUITE FLABBERGHASTINGLY, it gets unfolded how two poor souls, both hailing from the border villages in Upper Hunza were very callously made subject to mental agony by the authorities of former Collectorate of Customs, Central Ecise & Sales Tax, Rawalpindi firstly employing them in 1986 and 2004 respectively. The story brings forth and unveils the continuum of endless episodes of discrimination during the course of their lifelong service as contingent-paid employees – a term coined for those working as daily-wage-earners against a fixed remuneration that too remaining subject to periodic allocation of fund.
Eversince their appointments in the year 1986 and 2004 respectively, they have all along, interminably made subject to sheer arbitrariness resulting into the yawning financial troubles and multitude of other concomitant insurmountable problems obviously being in a quandary. The travails of their lives in the circumstances stem from their having constantly been singled out by the department for a discriminatory dispensation. The capital point is why such as a gross insensitivity was exhibited by blatantly denying to them the right to absorption against compatible regular positions in class-iv that caused vacant from time to time, during the late eighties and nineties dolefully tell Doostan Ali and Shamsher Ali.
The former discloses that he was preliminarily employed in the year 1986 to the menial of position at the lowest rung in what was called then the Basic Scale (BS.1) by then Collectorate of Customs,CE& ST Rawalpindi as he being an 8th class pass was eligible for appointment to any post in class-iv category in keeping with his eligibility and compatibility for appointment to any of the class-iv category posts in conformity with the criteria then enforceable for recruitment to any position. It got divulged that he was then posted at Customs Station Sost where he was allowed pay and allowance against the regular budget but ironically, the orders concerning his regular appointment to the grade-1 posts under reference were soon quite nonchalantly and oppressively withdrawn a year later in a questionable manner after paying him out of regular budget thereby consigning him to the present state to stuck in limbo ad infinitum, against the position of what is called the ‘Contingent Paid Staff” – a term standing for and connoting a daily-wage-earner whose continuity in the job remains subject to and squarely dependant on the availability of a specific periodic allocation funds besides nonaccrual of modicum of annual increment whatsoever.
It transpired that the services of Doostan Ali were needed continuously and uninterruptedly by the department – something continuing till to-date while he is being constantly denied regular job and the privileges attached to it, which is indeed, a classic example speaking eloquently of grotesque injustice and insensitivity that persists and is still going on unabated. It is equally worth noting that in eighties, nineties and until sometimes after in the later decade, the basic minimum qualification for a post in BS.2 or, to put it, the class-iv position, was ‘middle pass’ – something both the aggrieved employee fulfilled. But sadly, all the regular posts in BS.1&2 that fell vacant during the course within the jurisdiction of the department were filled by appointment of outsiders instead of giving them due opportunity demonstrating a naked display of waywardness and oppressiveness as will be borne out by the record of those periods.
The other namely Shamsher Ali tells the story that he was appointed as Contingent Paid Staff in the year 2004 while he too, continues to works till today without any single day’s break or interruption while facing the same fate as does the former. Eventually, the fate of both hangs in balance as they are in doldrums for having constantly been denied to them the right to regular job on the flimsy pretexts obviously by mishandling their cases of absorption by regularizing their services retrospectively in consonance with the decision of the Cabinet Sub-Committee formed during the PPP government.
It is also pertinent to make a mention to the effect that both the aggrieved persons while serving with all devotion, dedication and sincerity albeit they have all along been making relentless efforts as well, to seek redress to their grievances by way of submitting a series of applications for their absorption against regular positions but none of these fetched any tangible result as every time fizzled out proving an exercise in futility altogether. The requests though formally sent/recommended to the higher authorities in Rawalpindi, only evoked a vaguely expressed, stereotyped evasive reply from above that the ‘case would considered whenever a vacancy may cause’. The authorities were remarkably vague about what exactly this should mean as it happened that all posts of Chowkidars, Sepoys etc. then carrying B.1&2 respectively falling vacant during this period were secretly and rather surreptitiously filled by direct recruitment to the detriment of the applicants – something the records pertaining to the eighties, nineties and 2000s lying with the authorities may very well testify as to how blatantly and unjustly these post were filled by way of direct recruitment while depriving above contingent-paid-employees of their right to adjustment/absorption/appointment to the these regular positions in flagrant violation and manifest disregard of the principle of natural justice.
Even in the aftermath of the Cabinet-Sub-Committee’ under reference’s decision requiring unhindered processing of cases for regularization, both Dostan Ali and Shamsher Ali’s cases are hanging in balance and shelved with the reason being told by MCC GB that posts like Sepoys now placed in upgraded scale i.e B.5 while educational qualification for the rest of posts too in class-iv is now prescribed as matriculation. This is notwithstanding the fact that both the employees’ cases require regularization in an unhindered manner with retrospective effect i.e. from 1986 and 2004 and hence their qualification etc. at the time of their preliminary induction which then equated with and was attuned to the prevalent criteria of the times hence needs be considered as such for the purpose as the situation arose because of the injustice done to them by the authorities by not adjust both them in keeping with their qualification against compatible regular position of BS.1 or 2 which fell vacant from time to time in the Collectorate of Customs & Central Excise, Rawalpindi during eighties, nineties and subsequent decade.
Fallacious in method and incongruent to the underlying principles of natural justice, the spectacular nonchalance was exhibited particularly in the case of Dostan Ali by oppressively withdrawing his regular appointment order in BS.1 while adopting a continuous lackadaisical approach in the matter of his re-absorption without any regard for his conscientious working and irrespective of the fact that posts in B.1 and 2 kept falling vacant from 1987 onwards which were filled by recruiting outsiders directly against them during the interim period between 1980s and 1990s and 2000s. Thus the tangible position which emerges is in sum, that instead of adjusting those already working when both in the instant case, fulfilled the then prevailing terms and conditions for appointment becomingly retrospectively applicable in their case something bringing graphically to the foreground inadvertence, error, collusion or misconstruction on the part of the authorities.
It becomes manifestly clear how both were wittingly or unwittingly deprived of his legitimate right to regular position – something impinging on the fundamental rights. And quite strangely though, all those appointed to BS.1 and 2 posts during the course and had had equivalent qualification of ‘middle’ who have by the time, rendered 30 years pensionable service while the applicants are quite unjustly discriminated against and condemned to the position of the same ‘daily-wage-earners’ despite their lifelong services in the department. This all occasioned because of the nonchalance and gross insensitivity demonstrated by both the aggrieved persons, is in short, their story.
It is high time that cognizance is taken of the growing apathy of the concerned authorities that resulted into the sad plight of the both the aggrieved persons and order unhindered processing of their regularization cases for absorption into the regular category of employees retrospectively.
Doostan Ali disclosed that the total continuous service rendered by him gets reckoned with more or less about 32 years at a stretch without a single day’s break while the other namely Shamsher Ali has put in about 14 years uninterrupted service in the department and both are still condemned to positions where they remains squeezed to for the last three decades receiving a meager (fixed) monthly amount as daily-wager while case of the former while the latter does the same for the last about 14 years at a stretch. How far is this true can become verifiable from the record of the Collectorate.
That had justice ever been done by the Respondents to them, they would legitimately been absorbed retrospectively against a regular position in B.1 or 2, periodical annual increments would have accrued to him over the preceding long period of time whilst entitling them to pensionary benefits as remains the case with all their peers who were appointed during the interim period bypassing them during eighties, nineties and 2000s, in the department.
The fore-going all necessitated an unhindered processing of their cases primarily for their adjustment horizontally and retrospectively, against any class-iv post long ago whenever posts fell vacant in eighties, nineties and the subsequent decade while at the very least, taking up the matter of regularization of their service in the wake of and pursuant to the Cabinet Sub-Committee’s decision, in an unhindered manner, in keeping with their respective age and qualification of ‘middle pass’ as applicable in eighties, nineties and sometime afterward, for direct recruitment to positions in B.1&2 when they were preliminarily appointed in the year 1986 and 2004 respectively, as justice demands, they contend.
The writer is a Gilgit-based freelance contributor, blogger. He can be reached at Email: email@example.com