Sunday, January 29, 2023

Religious affairs minister 'doesn't want appointment of woman' as DG Hajj

In viral audio clip, Mufti Shakoor can be heard asking female candidate about significance of dupatta

  • Minister joins hands with interview panel to fail female candidate.
  • Audit and Account Group’s Saima Saba secured 71 marks in test.
  • Tests and interviews were conducted in September 2022.

Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Mufti Abdul Shakoor is allegedly against the appointment of a female officer for the vacant positions of director and director-general Hajj in the ministry.

The appointment has turned into a mystery given how in both the written exam and the interview for DG Hajj, the Audit and Account Group’s female candidate was not only successful but also bagged the first position. Meanwhile, the said religious minister has allegedly asked the interview panel to fail the female officer.

The process of recruitment for the ministry’s two vacant positions remains incomplete even after two months. In September last year, tests and interviews were conducted for the posts vacated on November 30, 2022.

Twenty officers of Grade 20 appeared for a written exam for the post of DG Hajj. Saima Saba of the Audit and Account Group’s secured 71 marks in the test while Amjad Khan of the Officer Management Group scored 61. The two were declared successful, after which the alleged trouble from the minister began.

According to the documents received by Geo News, the Prime Minister's House was informed about the successful candidates based on their gender seeking permission for them to retake the examination. However, the establishment division rejected the demand.

Reportedly, the minister found a way out, sources from the ministry told Geo News. In an interview held on October 26 last year, he planned to fail both the successful candidates with the interview panel joining hands with him.

During the 48-minute-long interview, the religious minister kept Saima occupied with questions. Saima, who managed to get record scores, was failed by him with zero marks.

In the wake of the episode, a purported audio clip of Abdul Shakoor and the female candidate has surfaced in which the minister can be heard asking her about the significance of a dupatta. He also asked her about her choice of not wearing a dupatta and what impression would it give to countries around the world.

The minister has since spoken about the situation alleging the female candidate of illegally recording during the interview and that an inquiry will be initiated. “The audio has been presented in a distorted way,” Mufti Shakoor said.

He added that Islam honours women, so how can he or anyone other person hold any prejudice against any woman?

It should be noted that the petition against the alleged gender discrimination is being heard in the Islamabad High Court.

— Thumbnail image sourced from APP