Uzair Ali describes an untenable situation in the
The administrative setup Bureaucratic deadlock in Punjab has completely broken down as the division between it and the political executive is almost unbridgeable and, as the tradition commands, the administrative officers quietly stood aside requesting to be posted out from their positions so that the incumbent political leadership is left unencumbered to take decisions the way it prefers and wants. Quite obviously the dichotomy in the election of the CM Punjab from a tiny minority party trying to keep the favour of a rebellious majority party bent upon fighting its own power base in Punjab is very difficult to reconcile and this crucial irritant is now coming home to roost. The most visible example of this conflict ultimately spilled over in the public domain in shape of the delay caused in registering of the FIR of the so-called assassination attempt on PTI chairman Imran Khan.
The administrative deadlock in Punjab began with the posting of a regular Punjab chief secretary between the PMLN-led federal and PTI-led Punjab governments since the incumbent chief secretary proceeded on leave over differences with the chief minister on administrative matters. Chief Secretary Kamran Ali Afzal went on a two-week protest leave on 17 September recording his disagreement over issuing transfers and posting orders of deputy commissioners, commissioners and administrative secretaries though the rules of business empower the chief minister to decide transfers and postings of such senior officers. Frustrated and disheartened over the working of his office under the current political set-up and with repeated pleas for transfer out of the province going unheeded, Punjab chief secretary finally decided to quit his post and proceed on leave for two weeks.
In this scenario sources believe that Kamran Ali Afzal has left his office for good and that he expects that the federal government to post his replacement during his leave or he will have his leave extended. They also maintain the chief secretary’s departure had caused serious administrative and governance issues as the province is currently mired in multiple crises ranging from floods, dengue, prices of essential commodities and agriculture. It was widely known that he had been repeatedly requesting for his transfer from Punjab since the PTI-PMLQ coalition took over once again. In the meanwhile when both the parties were in the opposition they accused him of leaning towards the PMLN, during Hamza Shehbaz’s election as the chief minister in the Punjab Assembly and his subsequent oath ceremony at the Governor House under police cover. Both CS Afzal and then-police chief Rao Sardar Ali Khan had requested transfers out of the province soon after the PTI had swept the 17 July by-elections in the province with Rao Sardar Ali Khan’s request granted around a week later.
It was reported that CM Parvez Elahi was initially furious over Hamza Sharif election’s episode but later accepted Kamran Ali Afzal as chief secretary but the CS kept of facing problems in ensuring transfers and postings on merit and the security of tenure of officers and had to shuffle the bureaucracy after the change of government in Punjab. The new CM now started asking the CS and the new IG to take action against the officers who were involved in the alleged torture of PTI leaders and workers during their long march on Islamabad on 25 May but both of them mentioned that most of provincial police officers were surrendered to the federal government for the event and it is the federal government that is required to be sought answer from.
To further complicate matters the Inspector General of Police of Punjab also sought transfer out of the province as the police force is reportedly very angry about the offensive and abusive language of PTI leaders used against police particularly after the Wazirabad incident. In a letter to the provincial government, the IG Punjab has said that he can no longer continue to serve his duties owing to personal reasons and has requested to be placed at the disposal of the federal government.
Similarly, there is also a deadlock between the federal and Punjab governments over the transfer and posting of Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Lahore Ghulam Mahmood Dogar. Though his transfer orders were issued on 20 September by the Establishment Division but the Punjab government wrote to the federal government for cancelling transfer orders as his services were required in Punjab. Sources say the federal government has yet again written to the Punjab government to relieve him as there were some complaints against him. However, sources say, the Punjab government is not willing to let him go and has asked to convey the complaints and it will process the complaint. Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi wants to retain him because he had shown courage to register cases against the PMLN federal government ministers and he had even called him at his office, hugged and applauded him. TW