ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has designated his son-in-law Raja Azeemul Haq as Executive Director of the World Bank (WB), who will replace Javed Talat, said news reports.
Ashraf’s Press Secretary Shafqat Jalil said the prime minister has approved the summary for Haq’s appointment, reports appearing in different Pakistani newspapers said.
Jalil was quoted as saying that the nomination has been done on merit.
The post is highly lucrative, offering $220,000 per annum salary along with other perks and privileges.
However, Finance Ministry officials said the appointment might create an embarrassing situation for Pakistan because the executive director represents several countries such as Iran, Algeria, Afghanistan and others which might raise an objection when Pakistan’s nominee.
The summary for the approval of the premier was moved by Economic Affairs Division (EAD) to Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh a couple of months back.
The finance ministry made all out efforts to block the move but its efforts failed, officials said.
They termed the move wrong. They said everybody should be given equal opportunity and appointments should be made in accordance with the system.
However, an official close to Haq said that he is a very competent person and possesses education and experience required for the post. He said because of his competence, he got his earlier appointments.
Until a few years back Haq was serving in grade 18 in the Income Tax Group but was first hired by Employees Old-age Benefit Institution in grade 20. Soon after Ashraf’s elevation as premier, Haq too was elevated in the prime minister’s office to a grade 21 post. The post of executive director is considered crucial as its occupant represents seven countries in the World Bank’s executive board where multibillion dollar projects are approved annually. Pakistan’s nominee represents Afghanistan, Iran, Algeria, Morocco, Ghana, Tunisia and Pakistan.
Some government officials had been critical of Haq’s nomination because of his ‘quick promotions’ within a few years from grade 18 to 21.
Normally, only senior officials are sent on such lucrative assignments after considerable exposure to domestic, regional and global economic issues.