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September 16, 2018

Mismatch between Imran Khan’s words and Punjab govt’s deeds!

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September 16, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Prime Minister, Imran Khan, on Friday gave a pep talk to the senior members of the civilian bureaucracy to boost their morale for efficiency and good governance, without realising that his words are being negated by the action of his own party’s government in Punjab the same day.

While at Islamabad the premier was assuring the government servants that they would be protected from political pressures as well as from being haunted by the National Accountability Bureau, almost at the same time in Lahore the PR Punjab Department was issuing a hand out No 1708 announcing action against two deputy commissioners who had recently complained of political interference by some PTI MPs.

In addition to this, sources said, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has allegedly appointed his cousin Capt (retd) Ejaz Khan as Additional Chief Secretary Punjab despite the fact that Khan has very little exposure in the province. The post of Additional CS in Punjab is considered very important as the officer has several important functions to perform.

The Additional CS acts as Punjab’s Chief Procurement Officer, head of General Administration, custodian of GoRs and all other government’s official estates, chief transport officer who also controls the VVIP fleets- executive jet and helicopter- besides controlling the posting/ transfers of all provincial assistant commissioners, executive magistrates, and more importantly administration of tribal areas of Punjab (which include the constituency of the chief minister).

According to the established principles of public administration, it is said, relatives cannot be both the boss and the sub-ordinates. The Friday’s interaction of the prime minister with senior members of the federal bureaucracy is the consequence of his advisers’- Dr Ishrat Husain and Muhammad Shahzad Arbab- persuasion that the demoralised civilian bureaucracy direly needs morale boosting support from the premier. Imran Khan was advised that he should speak to the bureaucrats both at the Center and in the provincial headquarters to encourage them to contribute with hard work and dedication for the better future of Pakistan and its people. The prime minister, according to the sources, was told by Husain and Arbab that without the help of civilian bureaucracy the PTI government’s reform agenda of change could not be implemented successfully. The premier was told that because of the politicisation and due to NAB’s controversial actions against senior members of the bureaucracy, the morale of bureaucrats is really down which must be lifted for efficiency, performance and good governance.

Against this background, the PM on Friday urged the civil servants to fully support the ambitious reforms agenda of the government since it is aimed at securing future generations. He assured them of protection from political pressure, and admitted that quick postings and transfers are most disruptive for governments. He said though that accountability is important for the country, hasted to add: “I received some complaints about bureaucracy and I spoke to the NAB chairman. I said, 'If you do investigate any bureaucrat, do not humiliate him, do it subtly. If the bureaucrat takes chances and doesn't do the work, we won't be successful, however useful policies we may make taking risks and thinking out-of-the-box."

The premier gave his assurances to the top bureaucrats that if they committed any mistakes, he would stand with them and ensure that there is no undue pressure on them. But the Punjab government’s hand out issued the same day from Lahore, badly hurt if not spoiled what Imran Khan wanted to achieve.

The hand out, issued in Urdu language by the Punjab PR department while quoting Punjab government’s spokesman said the deputy commissioners of Rajanpur and Chakwal were issued show cause notices. The spokesman added that both the officers were issued these notices for violating the chain of command (while making their complaints). The handout added that the notices were being issued on the recommendations of the inquiry reports submitted by the Rawalpindi and D.G Khan commissioners.

Interestingly, like in the case of DPO Pakpattan where the chief minister was spared, those PTI MPs who exerted political pressures on these DCs were not touched by the inquiries.

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