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September 16, 2018

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

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday gave a pep talk to senior members of the civilian bureaucracy to boost their moral 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 (R) 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 the boss and the sub-ordinates.

The Friday’s interaction of the prime minister with senior members of the federal bureaucracy was the consequence of his advisers’- Dr Ishrat Husain and Muhammad Shahzad Arbab- persuasion that the demoralised civilian bureaucracy direly needs moral 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 moral of bureaucrats is really down which must be lifted to for efficiency, performance and good governance.

In this background, the PM on Friday urged 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 though said 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 assurance to top bureaucrats that if they committed any mistakes, he would stand with them and ensure that there was 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 that the deputy commissioners of Rajanpur and Chakwal have been issued show cause notices. The spokesman added that both the officers have been issued these notices for violating chain of command (while making their complaints).

The handout added that the notices were being issued on the recommendations of inquiry reports submitted by the Rawalpindi and D.G Khan commissioners.

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

In Islamabad, the prime minister assures the bureaucrats that if they even committed any mistakes, he would stand with them and ensure that there was no undue pressure on them. However, in Punjab the DCs have been issued notices for what their superiors see as not following the chain of command while making their complaints.

According to an officer who attended the prime minister’s address to government servants on Friday, the premier assured officials that he would also train his party’s leaders and MPs not to interfere into bureaucratic affairs.

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