ECP, Punjab govt spar over transfer of anti-corruption director

Electoral watchdog has banned all kinds of transfers and postings until NA-108 by-poll

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the Punjab government are butting heads over the transfer of the anti-corruption director (Faisalabad region).

Initially, the Punjab chief secretary transferred the anti-corruption director, but the order was withdrawn after three days.

Later, the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) director general ignored the orders of the Election Commission of Pakistan and transferred the director, but the order was cancelled by the district monitoring officer.

Similarly, the orders of appointing the chairmen of various departments of Faisalabad have also been cancelled while the transfer orders made by the city police officer have also been withdrawn.

In the wake of the NA-108 by-poll, the ECP issued orders to the heads of all departments to prohibit the appointment and transfer of officers. But ignoring the orders, the director of anti-corruption Faisalabad region, Muhammad Ayub Khan, was transferred on August 22 by the chief secretary. However, the chief secretary withdrew his orders on August 25 after the ECP took notice of the matter.

On September 13, the ACE director general, in violation of the ECP orders, transferred Ayub Khan and directed him to report to the headquarters in Lahore. He was replaced with Regional Director Anti-Corruption Sargodha Asma Ejaz.

Interestingly, the transfer orders were kept secret for several days, however, the district monitoring officer took notice of the notification on Monday and cancelled the orders.

In a letter to the ACE director general, District Monitoring Officer Syed Basit Ali said that Ayub Khan was transferred despite ECP orders against such moves.

“No appointment or transfer can be made by the government or any authority in the district in which the by-elections are being held until the notification of the successful candidate. In Faisalabad constituency NA 108, polling is being held on October 16, so no appointment or transfer can be made until the election process is completed, the letter read.

“Therefore, the transfer of the regional director anti-corruption has been cancelled.”

It should be noted that the ECP had suspended MPA Mian Waris Aziz as Faisalabad Development Authority (FDA) chairman for violating the ban on appointments and transfers.

The appointment of MPA Shakeel Shahid as the Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) chairman and PTI leader Waleed Dogar as the Faisalabad Waste Management Company (FWMC) board of directors’ chairman has already been cancelled.

Similarly, orders have been issued to cancel all transfers made in the police department in Faisalabad.

In this regard, City Police Officer Umar Saeed Malik has clarified that the orders of the ECP will be strictly implemented.