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The Permanent Conflict between PMS and PAS Bureaucracy is the biggest challenge of Mohsin Naqvi in Punjab

What is the rationale behind massive transfers before elections? The whole exercise is no less than an administrative joke.
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Bureaucracy in Punjab is highly politicised. One takes a bureaucrat’s name and shall know with whom the civil servant politically affiliates. Before judging how political bureaucrats work in the province, there are a couple of patterns to understand. First, are federal officers preferred or provincial and second, who is appointed at what post? If federal officers are preferred, the federal government holds the position through the chief secretary and IG, and the CM is either ineffective or aligned with them.

Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf criticised the nomination of Mohsin Naqvi as the caretaker chief minister. However, the chief minister said he would remain neutral and ensure transparent elections. Then, one thing is more to know for a common reader. The federal government controls provinces through their officers as the former appoints a chief secretary and IG. It makes even the elected chief minister irrelevant. It shall be surprising to know that Pakistan is a federation in the constitutional book but practically a unitary state. Pakistan still keeps the colonial scheme of reserving provincial posts for central services and controls the provinces by appointing a chief secretary and IG. The appointment of Bilal Zafar Kamiana as CCPO is symbolic but not surprising. The federal government shall post all their favourite civil servants on all important posts, and the caretaker chief minister shall not object. It looks like the pattern so far.

It is essential to understand the bureaucracy in the province of Punjab. The federal and provincial bureaucracies are working in the province at the same time. Both federal and provincial bureaucracies often remain in conflict over posts and reservation of posts. The provincial services often assert that the federal services, including PAS and PSP, can not be posted on provincial posts as these postings are unconstitutional, especially after the promulgation of the 18th amendment. Then, federal services claim that they have a quota in the provinces, and the provincial governments never resisted it. Therefore, it is critical for the caretaker CM of Punjab to balance these two services, which often remain draggers drawn at each other. Suppose the caretaker chief minister depends upon the federal chief secretary and IG, it shall mean the provincial services shall not be posted as per their right, ultimately creating a disassociation among them.

The caretaker chief minister has two primary challenges. First, how he controls federal intervention in the affairs of Punjab? If the federal government continues to appoint its officers to the provincial posts, it means either the Naqvi is irrelevant or a man of the federal government. Secondly, he has to control the chief secretary and IG, who are faithful to the federal government, not the provincial government. The appointments of the officers shall reveal how Naqvi behaves. The caretaker chief minister has the challenge of his life. The challenge is to prove his impartiality and skills in handling bureaucracy and politicians.

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