KARACHI: The Ministry of Commerce would be issuing offer letters to the officers of Pakistan Customs Service who have been selected for the postings as trade officers, tasked to promote export and foreign direct investment, for posting in 36 countries.

Earlier in 2013, posting like these ones were marred with controversies and officers securing highest marks in the written tests were not even called for interviews. Officers also approached High Court in this regard.

After assuming office in 2013, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved a selection policy for trade officers’ postings in foreign missions, introducing some measures to ensure merit.

Prime Minister earlier rejected a summary of the commerce ministry as it failed to meet the laid down criteria. The rejected summary included names of officers who underperformed in the written test.

The trade ministers/counsel generals of Pakistan Customs Service (PCS) approved for posting abroad are Abdul Majid Yousafani (Sydney); Abdul Qadir Memon (Hong Kong); Dr. Naeem Khan (Shanghai); M. Aamer Ahmed (Moscow). The names of officers of BS-20 will be sent to the respective countries for acceptance.

The officers selected for posting as commercial counsellors are Muhammad Irfan Wahid (New York); M. Mohsin Rafiq (Geneva); Syed Mahmood Hassan (Hague); M. Daud Pirzada (Prague); Dr Nasir Khan (Dubai); Adnan Iqbal Swati (Seoul).

The prime minister has also approved officers for posting as commercial secretaries. These include Fahad Ali Chaudry (Johannesburg); Sumair Mustansar Tarar (Hanoi) and Salman Afzal (Lagos). A total of 51 officers have been approved for postings abroad on strict merit and after considering report of intelligence report.

After approval of these postings, the premier has also directed the commerce ministry to prepare objective and quantifiable performance evaluation standards and key performance indicators for the trade officers at the earliest.

The ministry was also asked to train these officers before postings, extend their contract on a yearly basis after a fair evaluation of the performance, and to appoint officers fluent in Pashtu and Dari for posting in Qandahar and Kabul. It is expected that the officers will assume their new offices by the end of February.