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Why the need for parallel administrations?

The CM Secretariat has become a parallel administration to the Civil Secretariat, the provincial government headquarters

The Punjab chief minister, who has yet been unable to constitute his cabinet, has assigned different duties to run the provincial affairs of the province through bureaucrats, Minute Mirror has reliably learnt.

There is a full-fledged Civil Secretariat led by the chief secretary and assisted by hundreds of officers to run the affairs. This includes additional chief secretaries and administrative secretaries.

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Official documents disclosed that the new officers were posted against vacant posts of the CM office vacated by ex-CM Usman Buzdar. All the officers of different grades including secretaries, additional secretaries, deputy secretaries and others, as per the notification, have been assigned to process the files moved by the Civil Secretariat. The inspector-general of the police’s office and other departments move all files of the matters to the CM’s office for approval. In some cases, the CM is the authority while in others the CMO notifies to receive summaries.

Barrister Nabeel Awan, the principal secretary to CM Punjab, is responsible for all affairs of the office. However, a large number of officers are posted to assist him.

As per the official documents, Secretary Implementation Maryam Khan was assigned to look into the summaries sent to the chief minister’s office. She will also deal with budget and finance. Implementation of the CM’s orders, monitoring of the administrative departments, and field formations will also be her responsibility. Council of common interests, inter-provincial coordination, coordination with the federal government and affairs of the cabinet, and standing committee of cabinet on law and order will also be her domain.

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Secretary Coordination Asif Tufail will be overseeing and coordinating the work of the divisional officers dealing with the parliamentarians, regional development and other administrative matters. Besides the provincial assembly business, coordination with the CS office, other departments, flagship projects, annual development program, and the standing committee on Finance and Development will be his responsibility. Inquiries under PEEDA Act 2006 and review petitions, disposal of financial assistance and supervision of all financial audit and allied matters will fall in his domain.

Likewise, Additional Secretary Mubeen Ilahi will be responsible for law and order. He will deal with issues of police, IGP, and counter-terrorism departments.

Additional Secretary Zeeshan Shabbir Rana will observe and oversee home, social welfare, population, literacy, and matters related to Sargodha and DG Khan divisions. Additionally, Rana will oversee prosecution, Rescue 1122 and MPDD.

AS Implementation Aurangzeb Haider will be responsible for the Board of Revenue, Auqaf and Livestock departments. He will also see matters of the Kasur, Sheikhupura and Nankana Sahib districts.

Three personal staff officers, protocol chief and staff, section officers, security chief, and lower staff will be tasked with additional duties to tackle different matters.

The CM Secretariat has become a parallel administration to the Civil Secretariat and the provincial government headquarters. All these above matters are also administered in the Civil Secretariat. There is a full staff and officers deputed to do all these affairs. Former principal secretary Parvez Masood, while talking to this correspondent, had once said that he used to handle all affairs of the CM office alone.

There was not a long list of officers at that time.

A senior officer requesting anonymity said that the CMO had become a parallel administration to the burden on taxpayers. Either the government should abandon the Civil Secretariat or convert it into the CM Secretariat, the officer proposed. He said that a cash strapped government should, at least, avoid such acts that go against the much-trumpeted austerity measures. He said that the CM should have a monitoring role only. Moving all the matters through summaries to CM gives birth to delays, pendencies, and red-tapism. One reason for the failure of the South Punjab Secretariat situated at Multan and Bahawalpur was the same. All matters would reach Lahore CMO for approval.

Advocate Asghar Ali, who deals with service-related matters, said if officers sitting in the CM office have to see matters relating to all departments, divisions and districts, the government should remove secretaries, commissioners, and DCs. Why do the taxpayers have to pay double for the same job, he questioned. The secretary to CMO, however, was not available for comments.

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