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The Rising Moral Corruption in Punjab Bureaucracy

moral crisis in Punjab bureaucracy
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Ahmed Zaidi

The Rising Moral Corruption in Punjab Bureaucracy

The state administration in Pakistan is facing an acute moral crisis. As they say, a declining society always produces a moral crisis for all organizations of a state. However, the moral crisis in the bureaucracy is far more acute than the crisis in society. The bureaucracy in Punjab, under the supervision of the Chief Secretary, has gone to new levels of moral collapse. This moral collapse is not only limited to transfers/postings but has expanded to all the bureaucratic rules, procedures and laws.

To begin with, the moral crisis in transfers/postings has become acute. There are no principles of transfers and postings. Most transfers and postings are done out of nepotism and corruption. The postings of deputy commissioners are without any merit or transparency. For example, the post of Deputy Commissioner Lahore is of grade twenty; however, a very junior officer, namely Rafia Haider of grade 18, has been posted as deputy commissioner, Lahore. Similarly, all posts of deputy commissioners of divisional headquarters are of grade 20, but most of the appointed officers are of grade 18 and have political and bureaucratic affiliations. The post of Deputy Commissioner, Dera Ghazi Khan, is of grade 20. However, a grade 18 officer is appointed there. The same is the case with the deputy commissioners of Sahiwal, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Faisal Abad, Multan, Bahawalpur and Gujrat Divisions, where most of the junior officers posted bearing grade 18. Is it not a mockery of merit in Punjab bureaucracy?

Then, the Commissioners of the divisions are also junior officers. In the same way, most of the additional secretaries, director generals and other officers are handpicked and posted erratically. Earlier, the August Supreme Court has already decided that erratic postings are unlawful. However, the Punjab bureaucracy’s moral crisis of transfers/postings does not stop here. August Supreme Court has already judged that ex-cadre postings are illegal. Then, so many ex-cadre postings are done; for example, the present secretary Information Department is illegally posted as he belongs to the federal Information Service.

However, the moral crisis of the Punjab Bureaucracy begins with the illegal posting of the chief secretary, Mr Zahid Akhtar Zaman. Mr Zaman is a grade 21 officer of the Pakistan Administrative Service PAS and holds a grade 22 post of Chief Secretary against the judgement of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. How can a chief secretary exercise moral authority when he himself is illegally posted against the right of a grade 22 officer? Therefore, he has implemented his own agenda of appointing junior officers to senior positions while subverting administrative laws of the Services and General Administration Department.

Firstly, it is the responsibility of the government to appoint a person on merit. However, Mr. Zahid Akhtar Zaman’s appointment is without merit and against the judgement of the Honorable Supreme Court. Accordingly, an officer belonging to grade 22 can only be appointed a chief secretary. Appointments on merit are vital for the cause of good governance and service delivery. Then, it raises a fundamental question? Why are erratic postings done? Erratic postings are done to accommodate junior officers in senior positions to take decisions of personal interests. When posted in senior positions, junior officers only work for their masters, as there is no administrative merit in their postings. Chief Secretary is also a junior officer to the post of chief secretary; therefore, he will serve his appointee more than implement the laws. Likewise, all junior officers appointed as deputy commissioners, commissioners, secretaries, additional secretaries and director generals are more prone to serve their masters than the rules and regulations. It is the tipping point where transparency falls apart, and nepotism, corruption, and debauchery would start.

Lastly, the present system of civil service under the supervision of Mr. Zahid Akhtar Khan is so collapsed that a junior officer of grade 17 is working as a secretary in the government of Punjab. It is the worst example of the system in Punjab. However, the administrative duty of the incumbent chief minister of Punjab is to look into the moral and administrative crisis in the bureaucracy in Punjab. It is also important to hold fair and transparent elections in Punjab. Therefore, the appointment of civil servants in Punjab must be made on merit without erratic postings, as judged by the August Supreme Court of Pakistan.

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