Bureaucracy is the permanent part of the executive. It implements the policies of a government. The structure of Bureaucracy in Punjab is vital to governance and implementation. The Chief Secretary and Additional Chief Secretary are the head of Bureaucracy in a province. The whole structure of the Bureaucracy hinges upon prescribed rules and procedures.
According to The Punjab Government Rules of Business, 2011, the position of Chief Secretary is vital to the cause of governance. Chief Secretary means the officer notified as such in the Gazette and includes Additional Chief Secretary in Services and General Administration Department. Furthermore, Chief Secretary is the head of the Secretariat and is generally responsible for all matters affecting public tranquility and inter-coordination. Additional Chief Secretary is also part and parcel of the post of Chief Secretary.
However, both positions in the Punjab government are vacant, and makeshift arrangements carry the official business. Regarding the posting of Chief Secretary, the federal government has a principal role to play, irrespective of the legality of the appointment. Therefore, the Punjab government requested the federal government to appoint a Chief Secretary from the proposed panel. However, the federal government declined the proposed suggestions. The provincial government assigned an additional charge to the Chairman P&D, Mr. Abdullah Khan Sumbal. This acting charge posting of the Chief Secretary is the most astonishing posting in the history of the Punjab government. On one side, if the Provincial government delegates its authority to the Federal government, how can it appoint a Chief secretary even on an acting charge base?
The federal and provincial governments’ conflict over appointing a Chief Secretary makes administrative sense. Amid political wrangling and disputes, the federal government does not want to provide the Provincial government the luxury to run the affairs smoothly. Then, what is the issue of appointing an Additional Chief Secretary? In the absence of a full-fledged Chief Secretary, an Additional Chief Secretary can fill the administrative gap and provide administrative functionality to the system. However, the Punjab Government must find a suitable candidate to appoint an Additional Chief Secretary. Unlike the posting of Chief secretary, the Punjab Government is exclusively independent in selecting an Additional Chief Secretary belonging to grade 21. There are scores of PAS and PMS officers available for the Punjab Government to choose from. However, still, the additional Chief Secretary Home Department, Mr. Asad Ullah Khan, is holding the additional charge of the post of Additional Chief Secretary, S&GAD.
These are vital positions for the administration of the Punjab Government. Governments can only function by positioning the right persons, especially on top slots. These additional charge appointments are compromising the effective administration. These arrangements are also against the much trumpeted vision of former Prime Minister Imran Khan.