ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Punjab Chief Secretary Akbar Durrani on Wednesday held a combined Skype and live conference with all administrative secretaries, commissioners and deputy commissioners to resolve the controversies arising from complaints against political interference in civil service affairs.
Reprimanding some of the officials who had written letters against politicians meddling in the transfers and postings of junior revenue officials, the Chief Secretary asked them to “respect their chain of command”.
He also asked the civil servants to improve relations with the political leaders of their respective areas. Talking to The News, Chakwal Deputy Commissioner Ghulam Saghir Shahid said the Chief Secretary did not bar anyone from talking to the media, but asked the deputy commissioners to respect the “chain of command” when lodging complaints.
At least four top officials in Punjab, including the deputy commissioners of Chakwal and Rajanpur, have registered complaints against political interference since the PTI government assumed office.
Instead of being rewarded, however, the Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry said the officers would be “taken to task” for ignoring their chain of command. The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government’s stance against senior civil servants who pointed out political interference is contrary to the Prime Minister's widely welcomed promise in his maiden speech to protect and reward whistle-blowers.
Speaking to The News, a civil servant said no official would dare to point out any misconduct by a politician if the government starts to punish the whistle-blowers.
Addressing the meeting of the administrative secretaries, commissioners and deputy commissioners at Civil Secretariat, Punjab Chief Secretary Akbar Durrani directed the deputy commissioners to perform their duties in accordance with the rules, keeping relations with the elected representatives pleasant, and seek guidance from their seniors if they face any difficulty.The chief secretary said that commissioners of Rawalpindi and Dera Ghazi Khan divisions had been asked to submit a fact-finding report to him on the letters of deputy commissioners of Chakwal and Rajanpur about political interference in administrative matters. He said the role of judiciary, legislature, executives and the media was of significant importance in guiding people.
He mentioned that all the government officers worked diligently to achieve the targets, including the conduct of free and fair elections. “They should continue working with the same passion to implement the 100-day plan of the government,” he added.
He said the law and order, improvement in sectors of health, education, environment and municipal services were the priorities of the government. He asked the officers to work in harmony with the legislators of their districts to achieve future targets, besides giving them representation in the committees working for wellbeing of people at the district level. He also issued directions to deputy commissioners regarding preparations for by-elections and adopting open-door policy to solve people’s problems.
Later, in another meeting in his office, the chief secretary ordered the environment secretary to prepare a comprehensive plan for capacity building of Environment Department. He said that there was a need to work on emergency basis to control environmental pollution. He directed that revised PC-1 for Environment Monitoring Centre be submitted as soon as possible, and disciplinary action be taken against the officers found guilty of committing negligence.