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CMs’ penchant for transfers and postings

Though it is right of every government to make its team but there must be a strict criteria to follow. The postings of officers without any criteria shows affiliations both political and administrative

The only characteristic that remains consistent in almost all governments is the transfers and postings of officers, surprisingly, without following any criteria.

When the PML-N Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz came to power in Punjab did nothing substantive except making transfers and postings of officers. When the change of command was made on the Supreme Court intervention and Ch Parvez Elahi became Chief Minister Punjab, he also focused on transfers and postings of officers besides declaring his home district Gujrat as Divisional Headquarters. Gujranwala Division was split into two divisions.

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Former Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has nothing to show in his cap except a massive reshuffle in bureaucracy. He transferred 10 Commissioners to his home division Dera Ghazi Khan. The officers who were supposed to serve for 3 to 4 years could remain in office for an average of 3 to 4 months only. Though it is the right of every government to make its team but there must be strict criteria to follow. The postings of officers without any criteria show affiliations both political and administrative.

“When you don’t follow any criteria and don’t allow the officers to complete their tenure they fail to perform. This is not only a violation of the famous Supreme Court verdict in the Anita Turab Case but also goes against the service delivery model. Frequent transfers of officials not only add to the economic burden on the taxpayers but also affect the administrative management.  This is the main reason for mismanagement. After NAB, now defunct to a great extent, ACE is the most vibrant institution to counter corruption in the province.

Secretary Irrigation Shaharyar Sultan was posted a couple of weeks ago and was also transferred and elevated to the position of Additional Chief Secretary Punjab. He was given additional charge of the Irrigation Department. This all happened when a dominant part of the province in the southwest was under severe floods. Manzoor Hussain the Director General Anti-Corruption was transferred and posted as Secretary Irrigation Department, relieving Additional Chief Secretary Punjab Shahryar Sultan of the additional charge of the post.

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Meanwhile, ACS Home Department Asadullah Khan was assigned additional charge of the Anti-Corruption Office. Before joining the Home Office, Khan was serving as Secretary Agriculture Department. Surprisingly, the Punjab government transferred Director General’s Anti-Corruption Establishment without citing any reasons. As per details, DG  Gauhar Nafees was removed on February 22. Manzoor Hussain served as DG from February to May, then Secretary Law Ahmad Raza was assigned additional charge of the office.

Abdul Jabbar served from May to July, and then Asadullah Khan held an additional charge. In July Manzoor Hussain was once again posted as the ACE head and he was transferred in September Addl Home Secretary Abdullah Khan was once again assigned additional charge of the Anti-Corruption Office. The ACE is hearing high-profile cases against political bigwigs including former Chief Minister Usman Buzdar for allotting 900 kanals of land without following formalities. Shirin Mazari and others are also on its radar.

The frequent transfers of the ACE heads shows governments apathy. The government, as a matter of principle, should never transfer the Secretary Irrigation department, Relief Commissioner and Disaster Management Authority head during the flood season. This goes against the rule of service delivery, experience and responsibility.

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