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November 16, 2018

PM intervenes to improve governance in Punjab


November 16, 2018

ISLAMABAD: In a positive development, Prime Minister Imran Khan is said to have asked Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar to avoid frequent transfers and postings of officers.

A key aide to the prime minister told this correspondent on Thursday that Imran Khan took notice of The News’ recent reports about repeated incidents of bad governance in Punjab and spoke to Buzdar on the issue.

The official source said that Buzdar has been told by Imran Khan to think well before posting officers but once the decision is taken then stick to it. Of late, this newspaper has pointed out repeated incidents where the Punjab government frequently transferred officers from one post to the other in a short span of time.

Although there were many officers who within days or a few weeks of their appointment have been changed and given new postings, there are two cases which are not only unprecedented but speak volumes about the indecisiveness of the Buzdar government. It was reported by this newspaper that two officers were transferred five and six times in 15-20 days time by the Punjab government.

The repeated transfers and postings of these two officers -- Abid Shaukat and Mazhar Ali Sarwar -- are considered unprecedented. It also makes a new record of how a government changed its mind about posting the officers not once, twice, thrice and four times but five and six times in a span of a few weeks.

There are other officers who were transferred twice and thrice in a few weeks time in Punjab. Not only these repeated transfers and postings of officers are in violation of the SC’s Anita Turab case but also negate the ruling party’s commitment of depoliticising the civilian bureaucracy.

Strangely the Punjab government, kept on doing this despite the fact that within days of the arrival of Buzdar government in Punjab, the-then DPO Pakpattan Rizwan Gondal was removed following political pressures and in violation of Anita Turab case causing lot of embarrassment for the government.

The CJP had taken suo motu notice of the case, which was disposed of after Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and the-then IGP Kaleem Imam had apologised before the SC over wrongly transferring the officer following political pressure.

However, the very next day of the disposal of DPO Pakpattan case, another major violation of the Anita Turab case was done when the-then IG Police Punjab Tahir Khan was unceremoniously removed. Tahir Khan was removed almost a month after his appointment as the IGP by the same PTI government.

Although, the chief justice avoided taking notice of the premature transfer of Punjab IGP, he had to intervene when the federal government unceremoniously removed the Islamabad IGP Jan Muhammad, again without letting the officer complete his tenure and following political pressures.

During the hearing of the Islamabad IGP transfer case, the CJP had indicated that the apex court might take up the case of former IGP Punjab Tahir Khan’s case. However, it was not done. While the media and judiciary’s focus has been the cases of premature and controversial transfer of senior bureaucrats, the Punjab government resorted to a transfer policy for junior and mid-career officers which not only violates the SC’s decision but has made the officers rolling stones.

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