Tuesday April 16, 2024

Reshuffle in Punjab bureaucracy: Accusations of favouring those who are close to PML-N

By Arshad Dogar
June 26, 2018

LAHORE: The senior officers of Police Service of Pakistan (PSP) and the PTI and PPP leaders have raised eyebrows over the reshuffle in bureaucracy, terming it purely on the basis of personal liking and disliking as well as close affiliation with the PML-N leadership.

They said it was not a move for free, fair and transparent elections as most of the officers were just changed from one district to another. They added that how it could be possible to conduct free and fair elections in the presence of close aides of former Shahbaz Sharif-led government.

Sources privy to the development confided to The News that recently-appointed Mundi Bahauddin DC Mehtab Waseem Zafar had served as deputy secretary at the Chief Minister’s Office for five years under the command of Secretary to the CM Imdadullah Bosal. PML-N MNA ticket-holder Nasir Bosal is the real brother of Imdadullah. Interestingly, the caretaker chief minister also belongs to Mundi Bahauddin.

Former deputy secretary to the CM Zeeshan Javed has been appointed as DC Narowal. He had also served with the former chief minister for five years.

Law Secretary Abu al Hassan Najmi (on contract basis) and Brig (r) Muzaffar Ali Ranjha are still serving on the same post and Anti-Corruption Establishment DG respectively.

Sources say not a single member of Board of Governors of Punjab Safe City Project is changed. The MDs of 56 companies of Punjab have also not been transferred so far. The MD of Ashiana Housing Society Zafar Iqbal has been posted as Commissioner Sargodha, Capt (retd) Khurram Agha, who is facing inquiry in NAB on Saaf Pani Project, has been appointed as the secretary to the CM.

Capt (retd) Saif Anjum, former secretary environment, has been appointed as Commissioner Rawalpindi, Nandipur Power Project’s earlier MD Capt (retd) Muhammad Mehmood, who was removed from the slot on financial irregularities, has been posted secretary livestock.

The senior officers of PSP have alleged that caretaker IG Kaleem Imam had claimed to appoint officers of the required ranks for different posts. However, an officer of DIG rank has been appointed on the post of Addl IG Special Branch for the first time in the history on such a sensitive post.

A senior police officer, who was surrendered to the Establishment Division, requesting anonymity alleged that the former IG Motorway’s lobby had worked well. At least four to five officers of his lobby have been posted on lucrative slots in Punjab. However, the officers, who were not in his lobby, have been shown the door.

A number of officers who had been serving on field posts for the last several years have once against been given field postings. SSP Athar Waheed, who in an unprecedented move had presented his belt to Nawaz Sharif during the save judiciary movement, has been posted as DPO Rahim Yar Khan. Syed Karar Hussain, who had served in the constituency of Hamza Shahbaz, has been posted as DPO Mianwali. A number of officers including Mustansar Feroz, Faisal Mukhtar, Ismail Kharak, Adil Memon and Kashif Aslam who had served in Model Town Division and Jati Umra have also been posted as DPOs of different districts.

According to the sources, the officers, who had served in Punjab on pure professional basis, have been sent to other provinces just on the wishes of some senior officers who had grudges against them.

They say the caretaker government should have devised a policy without any discrimination to ensure free, fair and transparent elections. The officers should have been scrutinised on the basis of intelligence reports for further transfers and postings. However, no such fair policy was devised, they alleged.

Senior PTI leader Shafqat Mahmood said they had been receiving complaints about the posting of some officers who were blue-eyed of PML-N leaders. He added that they had forwarded the complaints to the concerned quarters for action. The caretaker government should give an impression of impartiality in every respect, he maintained.

PPP leader Fakhar Hayat Lalika said the caretaker government had not set level-playing field for the general elections. He added that the blue eyed officers of PML-N had been posted from one district to another just as eyewash.

Caretaker Minister for Information Ahmad Waqas Riaz, however, said the transfers and postings had been done purely on merit. He added that if some officer had served in some capacity in the PML-N led government then they could not take discriminatory action against him.

To a question, he said the caretaker IG and chief secretary had finalised the lists in consultation with the members of Election Commission of Pakistan. So some of the officers have been made OSD and some sent to other provinces after receiving input from the Election Commission.

He also said even then if some officer has been posted against policy, action would be taken and they were to be transferred from the key posts. If any officer has been victimised on the basis of personal liking and disliking, it could be brought into the notice of the authority concerned for action.

DGPR Nabila Ghazanfar on the issue said that the main purpose of caretaker setup is to conduct free, fair and transparent elections and the government servants will ensure achieving the said purpose. She claimed the caretaker government has been ensuring 100 percent merit.

To a question, she said that even if some officer is changed from one district to another district he takes time to acclimatize in the new area so how could he influence elections, she questioned. It is a stopgap arrangement without any discrimination, she maintained.

Capt (retd) Asad Ullah Khan is son-in-law of former governor Ghulam Gilani Khan and enjoying close proximity with the Sharifs. He got lucrative postings during the Shahbaz government, including Commissioner Bahawalpur, Commissioner Multan and Secretary Irrigation. He is also facing enquiry in NAB over the Multan Metro Bas issue and now has been accommodated in interim setup as Secretary Forests.

Likewise, Special Secretary Home Dr Shoaib, Special Secretary Higher Education Ehsan Bhutta, Secretary Finance Hamid Yaqoob Shaikh and Special Secretary Finance Saif Dogar were not even touched and they are continuously been enjoying same posts even in interim setup. Momin Ali Agha after enjoying posts of Secretary Information for consecutive three years and afterwards Commissioner Faisalabad during Sharif era is now adjusted in Mines and Minerals Department as its secretary. Some of the officers, whose close kinds have been contesting elections, have also been retained in the province on key posts.