Shakeup in bureaucracy
Ideally, transfers and postings of the bureaucracy should not make the headlines. But when reshuffles become routine, they are bound to raise eyebrows of the public and stakeholders. The Punjab government has earned a name for itself for nocturnal ambushes on civil servants in its 15-month tenure. In yet another shakeup, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government late on Tuesday removed Punjab Chief Secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokhar and Inspector General of Police retired Capt Arif Nawaz Khan, replacing them with Interior Secretary Azam Suleman Khan and Shoaib Dustagir. Earlier, the Supreme Court had taken notice of the late night transfer of the Pakpattan district police chief on political whims. The Civil Secretariat will see the third chief secretary and the Central Police Office the fifth provincial chief in the present government’s tenure. As the new top civil and police bosses assume offices, they will install their own team on all major posts, which means the chessboard of the bureaucracy will keep busy for the next few weeks. With such major moves, the rumour mill goes into overdrive impacting the morale of officers and their performance. The public also views such frequent transfers and postings as a sign of weakness of the government.
There has not been transparency in bureaucratic reshuffles for decades. Most of the time political wrangling, and not administrative failure, shows certain officers the door. The merciless shakeups have seen many junior officers on senior posts in utter disregard of rules and service ethics. That is, of course, an insult to senior officers. The government needs to come up with rules and manners regarding transfers and postings. Some slots have become a platform for the officers to stay briefly and then move on. Take the example of the office of the provincial higher education secretary; in the last 15 months, six officers assumed the office and left. Same is the case with the top provincial officers of health, industries, excises, food and prosecution. Also, divisional and district level shakeups have become a routine. In the Anita Durab case, the Supreme Court laid down rules for transfers and postings of officers. In 2017, the Supreme Court thwarted the Sindh government’s move to change the provincial police officer, stating that an IGP should complete his term. Regarding appointments, removal and promotions, the verdict stated they must be made in accordance with the law and rules. Referring to the tenure, posting and transfer of civil servants, the verdict said when the ordinary tenure for a posting was specified in the law, it must be respected and not changed, except for compelling reasons
Efforts for financial inclusion