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The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has sought a report from the Ministry of National Food Security and Research secretary within seven days against the alleged illegal appointment of Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (Parc) chairman.

The PAC met under the chairmanship of Rana Tanvir Hussain on Thursday.

In his plea to the PAC chairman, Nadeem Iqbal accused PARC Chairman Dr Muhammad Azeem of misuse of power and corruption.

Iqbal said under the PARC Ordinance 1984, any well-known scientist associated with the field of agriculture could lead the PARC. He said Dr Azeem held a PhD in resource economics, which was not a part of agriculture but social science.

The appointment of Dr Azeem was an “open violation” of the ordinance, Iqbal said.

Iqbal further noted that Dr Azeem’s term was ending in September and that he was seeking a one year extension in his tenure. He said Dr Azeem was appointed as PARC director general in 2015 without the approval of the premier and the authority concerned.

Read PARC chief irks PAC sub-panel

The petitioner maintained that the then PARC chairman Dr Yousuf Zafar had brought the matter into the notice of National Food Security and Research Division secretary but no action was taken.

He alleged that Dr Azeem had bribed the authorities concerned for his promotion to grade 20 from grade 18 in 2007, which “deprived” many scientists of their right to elevate to the position.

Instead of agriculture research, Dr Azeem is focusing on a private company, Iqbal alleged, adding that the firm was involved in the embezzlement of millions of rupees of funds, which were never audited.

The petitioner further observed that Dr Azeem was heading an NGO since 2009 which was a “clear evidence of conflict of interest”. He said the international funds received for PARC were being spent in the NGO.

The plea urged the PAC, NAB and FIA to “recover billions of rupees” by initiating an inquiry against Dr Azeem and not to give him further extension.

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