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January 21, 2015

Govt fails to make any promised reforms so far


January 21, 2015

ISLAMABAD: The PML-N government has completed 1/3rd of its tenure i.e. almost 20 months but not even a single reform in any major area has been introduced and implemented as yet.
Till do date, the major achievement of Nawaz Sharif government has been the 21st Constitutional Amendment to pave the way for the military courts. However, no major step has been taken for institution building during all these 20 months.
Since June 2013 when the government came to power, statements were issued and in certain cases committees were also constituted for the much-needed reforms in different sectors of the government but no reform in any sector under the federal government has been introduced so far.
In certain cases some constitutional institutions like the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) prepared reforms packages and sought their implementation by the government. In such cases too, the government took no decision and the recommended reforms remained shelved.
The kind of enthusiasm the government has shown for the setting up of Military Courts has been completely missing in improving the inefficient and incompetent civil bureaucracy, de-politicising police, introducing independent accountability system, bringing in inexpensive and speedy justice system, promoting tax culture, addressing the flaws in the criminal justice system and introducing electoral reforms and others.
Only recently the prime minister directed almost all service delivery departments of the federal government to immediately implement the Citizen Feedback Monitoring Programme (CFMP) for better service delivery, fight petty corruption, enhance citizens’ trust and communicate state responsiveness. However, there is no progress seen even in this particular area.
There have been discussions in the government for the last many months to introduce Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system for speedy settlement of disputes in order to complement the existing judicial system and help

the judiciary to focus on non-compoundable and other serious offences. But practically nothing happened on ground as everything in these areas remains in proposal stage.
A few months back a Tax Reforms Commission was constituted to facilitate the general public about the taxation issues and to upgrade the current taxation system. In August 2014, the Nawaz Sharif government constituted a parliamentary committee on electoral reforms but without any concrete outcome as yet.
Likewise, no initiative has been taken to de-politicise the administrative machinery of the country and make it responsive to the masses’ problem. There is also complete silence as yet on the overhauling of the Accountability Commission, the FIA and the provincial anti-corruption departments for the purpose of ensuring their effectiveness and neutrality. Devolution and empowerment of the local governments also continue to be a far cry.
Only recently, the minister for planning commission Ahsan Iqbal was reportedly assigned to look into the civil service reforms.Similarly the government gave cold shoulder to some major “advice” and “recommendations” of the Federal Public Service Commission to reform the recruitment system, improve the quality of human resource, professionalise the civil service and to make FPSC more effective through empowerment and autonomy.
The FPSC had sought reforms in the promotion policy, improvement in the professional qualification for the CSS competitive exam, introduction of screening test for the CSS candidates, improved mechanism for the promotion exam of Section Officers, reforming the CSS competitive exam, etc. However, none of these got the approval of the government.

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