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Is Mohsin Naqvi a Neutral Chief Minister?

The appointment of Mohsin Naqvi as CM of Punjab is irrelevant. The genuine power lies in bureaucracy headed by the chief secretary and IG.
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Is Care Taker CM of Punjab Neutral?

The Election Commission of Pakitan uniquely selected Mohsin Naqvi for the position of caretaker chief minister of Punjab. The people who understand the mentality of bureaucracy may know that bureaucrats always side and prefer their fellows even over their kith and kind. Furthermore, this group affiliation is even more vital in PAS officers. Therefore, it was close to shocking that Raja Sikander Sultan, chief election commissioner, preferred Mohsin Naqvi over the other three DMG officers. Unless the parties and stakes are higher, it seems highly unlikely for a DMG officer not to select a DMG officer.

Mohsin Naqvi was selected as a caretaker chief minister of Punjab. Firstly, a media person, even the saith of media, should not join political offices because of their supposed media impartiality and partially because of their lack of governance knowledge and experience. However, amid severe political criticism of PTI, Naqvi joined the office of the caretaker chief minister of Punjab. The sole purpose of the caretaker chief minister is to hold fair and transparent elections. In this regard, he, representing the province’s executive, is supposed to execute the administrative plans of the Election Commission to hold fair elections.

In Pakistan, the permanent part of the executive (bureaucracy) is more potent, skilled and intelligent than the political executive. The bureaucracy becomes even stronger when the political executive needs more public support and has less governance experience. It is precisely the case with Naqvi and his political cum selected team. Hence, Naqvi is entirely dependent upon bureaucracy.

It is also significant to know that bureaucracy in the provinces is of two kinds. The federal bureaucracy, PAS and the provincial bureaucracy, PMS, are appointed to the provinces’ posts. Then, both of them have a structural conflict. The PMS believes that the federal PAS officers can not be posted on provincial posts because Pakistan is a federation, not a unitary state. They further say if PAS officers can be posted on the provincial posts, why can PMS officers not be posted on federal posts? However, federal PAS officers say they are posted in the provinces through the agreement reached in 1949. Then, PMS officers believe that the agreement must uphold the constitution’s provisions.

Irrespective of the legal conflict between the services, presently, the federal government appoints a chief secretary and IG and controls the provinces. Then, these officers lead their groups, PAS and PSP, making the provincial government irrelevant. Hence, the federal government controls the provinces through their officers. Political government can not manage the intervention of the federal government, then how can a caretaker government manage it? Therefore, Naqvi is almost irrelevant whether he is neutral or not. The federal government controls the province of Punjab, depending on how it holds the elections in Punjab, not Naqvi. The appointment of the staff officer of Shahbaz Sharif, the PM, as secretary to Naqvi, the caretaker CM, is the stark evidence that Naqvi is not only irrelevant but also a part of the federal government plan.

The administrative affairs of Punjab are not in the hands of Naqvi with his little cabinet but in the hands of the chief secretary and IG. Both officers are answerable to the federal government, not the provincial. Therefore, PTI should leave Mohsin Naqvi and control the chief secretary and IG if the latter is interested in holding fair and transparent elections.

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