Tuesday July 16, 2024

The political curse

By Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani
July 01, 2017

The situation in Sindh has worsened over time instead of moving towards prosperity. Various incidents of attacks on minorities, kidnappings, killings and social crimes have emerged from the province, which was once known as the land of peace.

While the world believes in appointing the right person in the right place to do the right job, bad governance in Sindh has encouraged political appointments in various state institutions and ministries. Such appointments are normally aligned with election campaigns. Instead of performing their professional duties, officials who are appointed in this manner choose to accept political pressure to save their illegally-acquired seats.

There has recently been talk on the media of how the Sindh government is politicising the state machinery by inducting its loyalists. According to the given details, the provincial information department has successfully hired 39 information officers allegedly by relaxing the educational qualification rule. The posts were created under the tenure of former information minister Sharjeel Memon. Although they appeared for the interview, a majority of the deserving and qualified candidates were rejected. Appointments were made through re-advertisements in lesser-known papers. There were no written tests. Ironically, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has also regularised all these illegal appointments.

Much has been written and discussed about ghost schools and ghost teachers in the province. According to independent reports, hundreds of schools across the province are non-functional. And yet, political-appointed teachers continue to enjoy perks and privileges.

Former IG Sindh Ghulam Hyder Jamali was also accused of appointing as many as 1,400 political workers in the police department. On the recommendations of the Supreme Court, 90 percent of these police officials failed to secure their seats in a professional examination that was held. Sindh IG A D Khawaja is an honest police officer who has played his due role in curbing anti-social elements. But he was also sent on forced leave by the provincial government because he failed to fulfil the demand of political appointments within his department.

An English daily reported that a former secretary of the Sindh Assembly secured grade-20 positions for all five of his sons with out-of-turn promotions within six years. NAB also initiated an inquiry against Manzoor Qadir, the director-general of the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA), who had caused losses worth Rs1.48 billion owing to a series of political appointments.

The list of other government departments where political workers have been inducted includes local bodies, water boards, town councils, hospitals and the KMC. Similarly, the issuance of fake appointment letters remains a burning issue. More than 100 employees were dismissed last year over complaints of bogus recruitment. Those affected by such actions by the Sindh Employer Social Security Institution are still seeking justice.

It is difficult to understand why the Sindh government issues appointment letters and then terms them fake and bogus. All investigative departments look helpless in this regard. Today, when the highly-educated youth population is desperately looking for suitable jobs, incompetent officers are holding public offices on account of ties with influential people.

The purpose of establishing state institutions is to facilitate the people. These institutions must be free from political influences and allowed to serve as per rules and regulations. The government machinery will never deliver effective results in the presence of political appointments within their ranks. We must discourage the practice of political appointments.

Infringing on the people’s right by accommodating blue-eyed elements is a grave concern which creates unrest in society. The curse of political appointments can only be tackled through the active role of the people and the media. People must raise their voices against this practice so that the media can also fearlessly highlight the issue. This is the only way to move our society towards prosperity.


The writer is a member of the National Assembly and
patron-in-chief of the
Pakistan Hindu Council.

Twitter: @RVankwani