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The Appointment of Naqvi as CM is Irrelevant; The genuine powers lie with the Bureaucracy

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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The politics in Pakistan needs political consensus to be independent of bureaucracy, judiciary and even Establishment. Politicians are divided; therefore, all retired and incumbent public servants decide their fate. It is never a good omen for a functional democracy when non-political figures make political decisions. Hence, the political parties are only to blame themselves.
The incumbent Chief Election Commissioner, Raja Sikander Sultan, is a retired DMG officer. Why should a retired civil servant or judge be a chief election commissioner? At this point, the politicians hand over all their powers to a public servant, which is quite unfair for a democracy. Politicians must develop a consensus and appoint political administrators to these executive slots, as politicians are the political and leading part of the executive branch of the government. The appointment of caretaker chief executives is a democratic defeat of the politicians.

The government and the opposition parties chose a retired DMG officer, Azam Khan, as a caretaker chief minister in the province of KPK. However, it could not happen in the province of Punjab. Then, the solution to all problems is nominating a DMG officer for all political parties. Politicians have a consensus that DMGs are the best people to run the affairs of the permanent executive and the political executive. Then, the case in Punjab is far more complex and symbolic. The politicians could not develop a consensus, and a retired bureaucrat settled the matter. However, it is pretty queer why a DMG officer did not nominate a DMG officer for the slot of CM when three nominations were retired DMG officers, and one was a SAITH of a media. Expectedly, the Chief Election Commissioner appointed Mohsin Naqvi as the caretaker chief minister of Punjab amid severe criticism by Imran Khan and PTI. Hence, this appointment is symbolic, manifesting that there are people in Pakistan who are even stronger than DMGs.

However, this is not a fundamental issue, as PTI plays with it. Then, there is always political symbolism, posturing and position. The resistance against Naqvi might boost the political campaign of PTI. Politicians play politics, and nothing is wrong with it. If they do not do politics, what else should they do? Then, the substantive question is, can Naqvi affect Punjab’s political dynamics, especially regarding electioneering? The answer is, No. The governance system in Pakistan depends upon bureaucracy, both civilian and police. All power is with them; then, the chief secretary and IG are the leaders of civil service and police. The bureaucracy hardly responds to a political chief minister, and for a caretaker chief minister, it all depends on how the chief secretary and IG respond to him. Therefore, the key is the chief secretary and IG, not a caretaker chief minister.

Naqvi is directly dependent upon Chief Secretary and IG. The chief secretary is like a de-facto and permanent chief minister of a province. Then, the federal government appoints the chief secretary and IG. Therefore, both these officers shall only respond to the federal government. In this proposition, the role of Naqvi is irrelevant.
Moreover, ECP will conduct the elections; hence, Naqvi’s position becomes irrelevant. Therefore, PTI might take political advantage in resisting Naqvi, but inside they know it does not matter. The advantage is with those who align the chief secretary and IG. Then, it shall only be the federal government which shall continue to sway over federal civil servants. It is a constitutional anomaly in Pakistan that the federal government appoints the chief secretary and IG on provincial posts against the federal scheme of the constitution. Does anyone know under what law the chief secretary and IG are posted on provincial posts by the federation?

Then, even if it is irrelevant who is caretaker CM, CS or IG. Pakistan has changed for many reasons. Referring to the bye-elections in July 2022, when Hamza was the chief minister with all favored police and bureaucracy, PTI won 16 out of 20 seats, as they were riding on a political wave. Naqvi needs help to utilize the administrative resources as Hamza did at that time. If Hamza can not pull it off, how can Naqvi? As long as PTI enjoys the support of people, they will be winning. The role of Establishment and bureaucracy is receding as the voters become more educated, especially in Punjab. From the point of PTI, their genuine issue is with ECP. Then, trained, organized, and strong political parties can easily manage these political maneuvering tactics. PTI should be fine with the appointment of Naqvi but should worry about their fragile organization and over-confidence.

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