Absence of a proper system

The ratio of federal officers serving in provincial posts has been a source of contention between the provincial and federal services

Absence of a proper system

The ratio of federal officers serving in provincial posts has long been a bone of contention between the provincial and federal services. Officers in the provincial services say that not getting their rights and due share in provincial postings and promotions is demoralizing and negatively impacts governance.

All four provincial civil services have filed constitutional petitions before the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) against the Inter Provincial Coordination Committee (IPCC) formula that was devised under the caretaker government of Moeen Qureshi in 1993. They call it discriminating, arbitrary and unconstitutional.

Provincial police officers have filed several petitions challenging the Police Service of Pakistan (PSP) Rules, 1985, as well as the Establishment Division letter of 1975 – on the ground that post 18th Amendment promotions and postings are not covered by the federal legislative list. Therefore, they say, any rules made with regard to the service of provincial police officers have to be made by the province and not by the federal government.

The Provincial Management Service (PMS) Officers’ Associations in all provinces have been trying to persuade the respective provincial governments to address the de-motivating factors for the PMS.

The formula devised by the IPCC is in clear violation of Article 240 of the Constitution of Pakistan, says PMS Officers’ Association Punjab president, Naveed Shahzad Mirza.

Article 240, he says, clearly states that “the appointments to and the conditions of service of persons in the service of Pakistan shall be determined in the case of the services of a province and post in connection with the affairs of a Province, by or under Act of the Provincial Assembly.”

“By no means does a caretaker government have the constitutional authority to take long-term policy decisions”, says Mirza. Unfortunately, he says, provincial civil servants are deprived of their due share even in accordance with the disputed 1993 formula.

“Almost all the senior positions in the secretariat as well as the field including the chief secretaries, additional chief secretaries, Planning and Development Board chairman, senior Board of Revenue member, secretary to the government, heads of attached departments and autonomous bodies and divisional commissioners, are occupied by federal officers from the District Management Group (DMG), now named the Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS)”, he adds.

One concern for the Provincial Civil Services is that a large number of PMS officers, selected through a similar competitive process, have to wait for as long as 17 or 18 years for their first promotion from BS17 to BS18. Their counterparts in the federal service reach BS20 by then. Another concern, according to Mirza, is that a large number of officers from various federal service groups like the Postal, Audit and Accounts, Income Tax, Information, OMG have been posted against provincial posts. “It is a sheer violation of rules.”

...a large number of PMS officers selected through a competitive process have to wait for as long as 17 to 18 years for their first promotion (to BS 18); their counterparts in the federal service have reached BS20 by then.

A major concern for the provincial police officers – commonly called rankers – is the Police Order, 2002, that does not permit rankers to flourish in service. The Order has effectively made it impossible for a ranker to rise above the level of an SP.

In addition, Punjab Police Deputy Superintendent and Superintendents (Appointment and Promotions) Service Rules, 2020, has unilaterally amended the 1993 agreement.

The 1993 agreement provides that the provincial officers have a 75 percent share in BS 17 posts, 60 percent in BS 18, 50 percent in BS 19, 40 percent in BS 20 and 35 percent in BS 21. However, the rules under the Police Order 2002 have abridged the prospects of promotion of the provincial police force, says SP Tariq Masood. Masood has been a prominent voice against the decision to halt the promotions of rankers in the police. A couple of petitions have been filed at different levels by provincial police officers.

In the year 1985, a set of rules was promulgated under Section 25 of the Civil Servants Act, 1973 known as the Police Service of Pakistan (Composition, Cadre and Seniority) Rules 1985. Rule 7 of these rules stipulate that provincial officers will man 40 percent of the senior cadre posts in the province. The later amendment is ultra vires of the federal legislation.

The Police Order 2002 is prejudiced against rankers, Masood says. He says provincial service officers of the SP rank and above are denied their due in the PSP-dominated police.

The Recruitment Rules 1955 mandate a minimum of 13 years of service for the promotion of civil service cadre officers to the ‘selection grade’, which is equivalent to SSP. “This is a delaying factor, as well. There should be equal opportunities for promotion. The caderisation of ranks in the PSP creates hurdles for them and does not let them reach the post of SSP or DIG (Deputy Inspector General)”, says Masood.

“It is a power game and no one wants to lose their grip,” says former additional inspector general (AdIG) of the Punjab Police, Sarmad Saeed. “Rankers have long been deprived of their due share in the service. That is the reason why junior officers have been posted on senior positions like DPOs (district police officers), RPOs (regional police officers), and DIGs”, he says.

According the Punjab Budget, there are 362 posts from SP to IG in the province. Many of these posts are vacant. This is due to the absence of a proper system for promotions, says Saeed.

“There is no doubt that rifts exist at all levels in the PSP. This is severely damaging the performance of the department”, says Saeed. “Police is a provincial subject under the 18th Amendment. The constitution must be followed in letter and spirit. The rankers should have the right to be promoted to DIG level” he concludes.

The author is a staff reporter. He can be   reached at waraichshehryar@gmail.com

Absence of a proper system