STAFF REPORT ISB: The incumbent governments level of seriousness towards good governance is evident from the fact that as many as 10 organisations working under the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) are currently functioning without permanent heads, taking a toll on research and development projects.

After months of delay, the ministry has recently invited applications to fill the 10 head level positions, currently being run by people with acting charge.

The Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF), the apex body for promotion and funding of scientific and technological research in the country, is being run without a permanent head since April 14 this year.

“Last year, a European country had refused to carry out a joint venture with us because of the general output of the organisation and overall performance in the research area,” said a PSF official on condition of anonymity.

Similarly, other organisations are being run by deputationists or junior officials who lack the relevant qualification and expertise.The position of directors general (DGs) of the National Institute of Electronics (NIE), Islamabad, and the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Karachi, have been lying vacant for the last four years, with junior officers running them.

Meanwhile, the in-charge of the Pakistan Council for Science and Technology (PCST), Islamabad, is with a professor, who is on a deputation.

Similarly, the affairs of the Pakistan Council for Renewable Energy Technologies (PCRET), Islamabad, the Pakistan National Accreditation Council (PNAC), Islamabad, and the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), Karachi, were being run by officers having acting charge.

The PCSIR, Islamabad, the PCRWR, Islamabad, and the CWHR, Karachi, were also without regular heads since October last.

However, Science and Technology Additional Secretary Ejaz Mian, who is also holding acting charge of the PSF since January, claimed that in the absence of a permanent head, no compromise was made on quality or performance.

“The issue which I have witnessed in offices is bad governance and not the absence of permanent heads,” he said.

But another officer said that at a recent meeting when a member of science was asked about the progress of the organisation in last four years, he failed to answer a satisfactory answer. “It is not the issue of heads but the whole staff which have made these organisations sick and dysfunctional,” he said.

While talking about the headless bodies, Science and Technology Secretary Kamran Ali Qureshi said they were in the process of appointing permanent heads at the earliest.

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