Believe it or not but being son or daughter of an influential and well-connected bureaucrat makes all the difference in Jammu and Kashmir.
From getting a government job to being granted concessions in complete violations of rules and regulations, fantastic arguments are given to accommodate the blue-eyed ones. While those who have lost their Kith and Kin can be seen pleading with government for fast-forwarding their cases for appointment as Class-IV employees, those whose parents have retired from top positions in the state government are accommodated, according to their will and wish.
One such officer is Managing Director, J&K Agro Industries Development Corporation Asif Hameed Khan son of Hamidullah Khan; a 1964 batch retired IAS officer. Hamidullah Khan even after his retirement was one of the most respected, influential and politically well-connected IAS Babus of the state. If the GAD files and the record assessed by Newspoint bureau is to be relied upon, Asif Hameed Khan, a first class arts graduate, had submitted an application to the then Governor Girish Chander Saxena for appointment as Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP).
Surprisingly, Khan was then neither son of a poor man nor was he qualified to be appointed under SRO-43. Khan’s father could have easily sent him to one of the country’s premier coaching institutes and ensured that he qualifies the civil services examination, joins the elite league of IAS officers and contributes in the development of the state. But he seemingly preferred to take the aerial route and submitted an application to the Governor’s administration in 1990 seeking appointment in the police on a gazetted post of DySP.
The then Governor’s Advisor Jamil Qureshi, who dealt with the application recommended his case stating that his father Hamidullah Khan had done work of outstanding merit in establishing winter secretariat and made it to work throughout during the difficult period of turmoil running an extra-ordinary grave threat to himself and members of his family. He had further written that the family members out of fear had left Kashmir and in such a situation, it was the duty of the state government to provide necessary protection to the family members.
He had further noted that Khan was a first class Arts Graduate and he had to abandon his studies in law on account of law and order situation in the state as a result of threat to his life. In these premises, the then Governor’s administration had recommended Khan for being appointed on the post of Trade Agent for period of six months at one at one of the trade agencies of the Jammu and Kashmir Government at Amritsar, Chandigarh or Bombay.
An additional post of Trade Agent was created for Asif Hameed Khan on the pretext that public property worth several crores had been misappropriated by influential people camouflaging as loyalists of state government and that he would take care of these assets. On December 23, 1990; the post of Additional Trade Agent was abolished and Khan was appointed as Trade Agent and posted in place of one G.M. Zahid who was sent to Delhi as Secretary to Resident Commissioner.
According to records, the proposal for creation of post of trade agent which was essentially meant for Asif Hameed Khan had ran into difficulties due to objections raised by the Finance Department but the then advisor Qureshi who was following the case personally ensured that if not for permanent positions, finance department agrees for temporary appointment of Khan for six months against the post of Additional Trade Agent.
Khan was finally appointed on the post of Trade Agent vide government order pursuant to the decision of the Administrative Council dated 11-12-1990 and 12 days later, the post of Additional Trade Agent was abolished and Khan was appointed as Trade Agent. Thus khan was adjusted and made a government employee in complete violation of the Section 133 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir which provides for prior consultation with the Public Service Commission in all appointments to civil services and on civil posts.
It was clear to one and all that the creation of the post of Additional Trade Agent for a period of six months and abolition of the post even before the expiry of the stipulated period was aimed at accommodating Khan. Under Rule 5 of the Jammu and Kashmir Hospitality and Protocol (Gazetted) Service Recruitment Rules, 1981, appointment could be made by direct recruitment, among other modes, but for making the appointment the post was required to be advertised and applications invited from intending candidates which was not done resulting in violation of the fundamental rights of the petitioner under Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India.
There was also violation of the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission (Limitations of Functions) Regulation, 1957. Thus, Khan was accommodated and kept in Mumbai where he enjoyed his stay to the fullest. NC-Congress coalition government returned in 2009 and posted Asif Hameed Khan as Additional Resident Commissioner (ARC), a position where he managed to get top IAS officers shifted and where he continues to enjoy power.
His influence can be noted from the fact that Khan was shifted but posted as Managing Director J&K Agro Industries Development Corporation. His clout and influence continues despite the fact that the ruling dispensation has changed.