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PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif. — Photo by AFP
PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif. — Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD, May 21: The Sharifs of the PML-N have asked a former bureaucrat to draw up a list of officers who will be given key assignments in Islamabad.

It was revealed during background interviews with some party leaders and senior bureaucrats that Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister-in-waiting, had asked his former principal secretary and retired bureaucrat Saeed Mehdi to formulate the list.

“In Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif will not be having problems in picking officers of his choice to run his administration because he was at the helm in the province until very recently. But Islamabad will be a totally new territory for the elder Sharif, for which he needs a team of experienced and honest bureaucrats,” said a close aide to the Sharif family.

Mr Mehdi has got both experience and updated information about the present lot of officers in the federal bureaucracy. His own son is the sitting deputy commissioner of Islamabad. Dr Tauqir Shah --- a DMG officer who has worked as special secretary to Shahbaz Sharif, is helping Mr Mehdi pick the bureaucrats.

If the PPP and President Asif Ali Zardari had Salman Farooqi, the PML-N will have the services of Mr Mehdi, who will be playing a crucial role in running the federal government, remarked a sitting federal secretary.

Mr Farooqi, who is secretary general to the president and acting Federal Ombudsman, throughout the five years of the PPP-led government held the centre of power right under the eyes of President Zardari. According to a reliable account, all important files of the Prime Minister Secretariat used to be routed through Mr Farooqi’s office.

After the PPP received a drubbing in the elections, the incoming PML-N wants to put up a good show. That’s why it is looking for bureaucrats who are both efficient and honest.

“We are facing a real dilemma in selecting officers who carry both experience and have remained free of the PPP’s corrupt influences. Every second federal secretary who has worked under the PPP government is linked to some sort of financial management, which we can ill-afford,” said the Sharifs’ aide.

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Comments (80) Closed

Karachi Bhai May 22, 2013 11:12am

"Honest Bureaucrat" is considered an oxymoron in context of Pakistan. And the other one is "Military Intelligence". Pun intended

waseem May 22, 2013 11:16am

That's good intention.

RQ May 22, 2013 11:25am

How do you set the criteria of honesty in Pakistan?

Saqib Salman May 22, 2013 11:26am

How Pathetic and extreme form of conflict of interest. This is shameless form of democracy. It means any prime minister can select beaurocrates of his own choice and than play around with power. Such a pitty

Cobrajock May 22, 2013 11:38am

........... and they are looking for honest statesmen.

Caz May 22, 2013 11:48am

In pakistan! They will be lucky to find one!

Salamat Ali Raja May 22, 2013 11:54am

Pakistan Government needs to bring reforms in the ministries and revenue generating bodies. They must work on commercial principles and like corporates. Independent auditors from the market can give assurance and bring transparency in the government financial reporting and value for money audits will bring more transparency.

Utility sector must be in competition with private sector companies and give service for the betterment of masses. There must be strict implementation of laws and regulations which should govern the departments like corporates. Private Public Partnership will lead the transparency and will benefit by preparing the individuals and teaching them about a corruption free practices and national interest.

sattar May 22, 2013 11:59am

they first rig the elections become PM and now he wants honesty. first he needs to be honest himself which i very much dout.

Israr Khan Ismail Zai. May 22, 2013 12:03pm

Mr. Sharif, you can't choose "honest bureaucrats", if your own honesty is in question. Please stop lying to the people.

I. Ahmed May 22, 2013 12:19pm

You find me a good politician and sir I will fine you a good bureaucrat! If I remember it correctly that is how PML-N started in 1997 as well and ..........

Faisal May 22, 2013 12:47pm

You will have to go out of the box to find honest bureaucrats, by out of the box I mean out of Pakistan.

atts May 22, 2013 01:11pm

the new oxymoron "honest bureaucrats"

Asif May 22, 2013 01:50pm

""""Mr Mehdi has got both experience and updated information about the present lot of officers in the federal bureaucracy. His own son is the sitting deputy commissioner of Islamabad. Dr Tauqir Shah --- a DMG officer who has worked as special secretary to Shahbaz Sharif, is helping Mr Mehdi pick the bureaucrats""""

What a joke!!

Salman Saleem May 22, 2013 03:11pm

Good intentions always have good results. Nawaz Sharif has right to select his team as he will be accountable for the functioning of the PML-N government. If he selects good ministers and experienced bureaucrats, chances are that departments will work efficiently.

mac1960 May 22, 2013 04:11pm

Corrupt politician looking for honest bureaucrats: this is nothing more than a joke and an insult to common sense.

Khalid May 22, 2013 04:26pm

Well, in other words Mr. Nawaz Sharif is looking for people who can do the dirty work for him without asking any questions. He did not say that he is going to select people on merit because merit means nothing in Nawaz Sharif's world. Mr. Nawaz please prove us wrong. We do not have high hopes but selecting your friends to run the machinery of the government will destroy our nation even more.

Raj May 22, 2013 04:37pm

@Faisal: your comments that one has to go out of the country is not fair. If PM remains honest, dedicated to service people, good men and women will gathe around him.

Raj May 22, 2013 04:36pm

@Faisal: your comments that one has to go out of the country is not fair. If PM remains honest, dedicated to service people, good men and women will gathe around him.

Zak May 22, 2013 04:48pm

Was Saeed Mehdi honest? Is he now? How were his son and daughter inducted into the civil service?

For starters, the choice of Mr. Mehdi (like that of Salman Farouqi before him) his wrong so one can see the intention. All they want is honest read pliant civil servants.

Ali May 22, 2013 04:53pm

Good lucky with that. Nod, nod. Wink, wink.

raza shah May 22, 2013 04:53pm

'He who has the gold makes the rules'

pakistani May 22, 2013 05:02pm

the will find them and put them as osd (officer on special duty) with no work at all.

Arsalaam May 22, 2013 05:51pm

Hire me then !

Richard May 22, 2013 05:51pm

Is there such a thing as an 'HONEST BUREAUCRAT" in Pakistan

imtiaz faruqui May 22, 2013 05:55pm

@waseem: Good intention but he will have to import them.

malick May 22, 2013 05:57pm

PMLN leader Nawaz Sharif should first look for honest judiciary. Mian sahib is your judiciary is honest?

Mian sahib first you need to explain, show and clear your honesty about the money you took from generals in 1990 election, ref.. Asghar Khan case and the remarks of SC. Please do this in first sitting of NA.

babaji May 22, 2013 06:00pm

Have they run out of family memebers?

Tkhan May 22, 2013 06:05pm

Hire my mother. She raised 8 honest kids. Lived within the meager budget with dignity.Even my cutest & lovable sister couldn't make her offer any extra favors to her. She was firm and fair. Sharif Bros, you will find many of them among the DAWN Readers.

Imran May 22, 2013 06:35pm

Honest bureaucrat? Is there such a thing?

debater May 22, 2013 07:11pm

Like father Like son

debater May 22, 2013 07:12pm

Are beuraucrats going to as honest as Chief Justice of Pakistan.

Faisal May 22, 2013 07:16pm

@atts: You beat me to it.

Faisal May 22, 2013 07:18pm

@RQ: Its very simple, don't get caught.

mehmood bhanji May 22, 2013 07:42pm

Why don't you start with your self Mr nawaz

Qamar May 22, 2013 08:01pm

Honest bureaucrats... in Pakistan? Forget it. Bureaucracy has been so much politicized and so many incompetent people have been recruited/promoted in breach of service rules that it is impossible to run an honest government without a major overhaul of the civil services.

Shan May 22, 2013 08:12pm

It shouldn't be difficult for him to find "honest" officers... Sharif can continue to keep their assets overseas but they should ask the "honest" officers to keep everything in Pakistan.. How difficult it can be?

jdshami May 22, 2013 08:20pm

@Faisal: what a shame for Pakistanis like you.

FR May 22, 2013 08:44pm

The word honest should have been written "Honest" as honesty has got various meanings among different sects and groups of Paki society.

MS98 May 22, 2013 08:58pm

Picking and selecting bureaucrats should be according the law and merit not on the basis of like and dislike. Revenue department along with many many many others government's departments are full of corruption. Can be make them functional clean and efficient???

Ahmad Dewan May 22, 2013 10:19pm

Dishonest people looking for honest bureaucrat for Islamabad. What a joke.

Khalid May 22, 2013 10:30pm

Dear Mr. Sharif, why is it that your first priority is to find honest people who can be given important jobs?. Why don't you look for people ONLY on merit basis?. Does merit not mean anything to you?. And do you really believe that the first job of a prime minister is to look for honest people?. Please don't think that all Pakistanis are silly.

Z Hussain May 22, 2013 10:32pm

Mr Nawaz Sharif nor Mr. Shabaz Sharif should have the power to choose bureaucrats. Bureaucracy should not be under thumb of politicians but independent. Actions speak louder than words. The hope that new and refined Nawaz Sharif will rid Pakistan of past evils is likely to be deffered.

Ahmad May 22, 2013 10:46pm

All the cabinet members should go through the voting and conformationprocess. Every candidate should be facing the questioning by the MPs in a public or assembly in front of cameras and shown live on TV. The second and third tier officers should also go thru the same procedures and public objection should be taken seriously. Proper selection is important more than ever. I hope the PM is not doing a lip service to the public. My prayers and wishes are with Mr. Sharif.

Khalid May 22, 2013 11:08pm

@RQ: As far as Mr. Nawaz Sharif is concerned, anyone who calls him AMEER-UL-MOMENEEN

Feroz May 23, 2013 12:25am

Hard to find! May 23, 2013 12:33am

With state of affairs PPP is leaving behind.

Mian Saheb. Goodluck

Raja Islam May 23, 2013 12:32am

A doctor working in DMG looking for honest bureaucrats. Why did an honest doctor join DMG in the first place?

Raja Islam May 23, 2013 12:34am

There are no honest bureaucrats left in Pakistan. If they were honest they would not be bureaucrats.

gangadin May 23, 2013 02:16am

What is an honest bureaucrat? Is this a joke?

John May 23, 2013 02:26am

@Raja Islam: Like a doctor (Arsalan Iftekhar) joining FIA and within two years becoming a billionaire businessman

John May 23, 2013 02:30am

@debater: And his son a bureaucrat turned billionaire

John May 23, 2013 02:36am

@Imran: If there are honest politician at the top, there will be no dearth of honest bureaucrats. Will Mr. Nawaz Sharif his family, his friends, his cronies his MNA, MPA, Senator, Ministers and Party members refrain from using the bureaucrats for anything which is not legal, honest and on Merits. The reform should start from the TOP.

John May 23, 2013 02:39am

@Raj: IF: then the history would have been different, no president or Army chief would have dared to dismiss the political Governments.

Bling bling May 23, 2013 02:46am

Dont look too far, Check next door to your house in Lahore. Plenty of Tabligh jamaat in rewand. Also plenty of "honest" customs officers in airports :-)

Sarwat Hasan May 23, 2013 03:02am

Dear Mr. Shareef, Are you having a hard time finding honest people within your party? You should start looking at yourself and your brother first, you two don't even fit the criteria. When the leadership of you own party is such as yourself, obviously, rest of the party is as corrupt. Where will you find honest folks within PML-N..

Naveed Khan May 23, 2013 04:11am

Mian sb, should bring in honest bureaucrats and external expertise. In Finance, Education, Energy and Transportation, he should bring expertise from outside to complement honest bureaucrats who may be good at execution. These experts need to be good at strategy and planning.

Asif May 23, 2013 07:24am

Dear respected Nawaz Sharif, please feel free to select any one you think is the most honest bureaucrat, but please be very careful this time, as last time when you selected Pervez Musharat (by ignoring the principles of Merit and by-passing three Sr. Generals) it caused you and us big problems.

Javaid Ahmed May 23, 2013 07:58am

First go strictly by senority, sideline those who do not perform,don't place junior officers in senior positions as was done by Shahbaz while runnin g Punjab. His team was known as "Blind and under Ninteen" the last time around as he ran the administration with so called honest breaucrats. Seriously think of giving government employees a wage that enables them to save 10-15% for difficult times. With the present pay structure you will not find an honest official unless he/she is in a service where there is no public interaction. Moreover honestly is relative not absolute. Bring in corporate salary structure with power of firing if they don't deliever.

Michael Sirdar May 23, 2013 07:57am

They'll find honest people in the Sharif family, only. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.........

Usman May 23, 2013 08:00am

Whats the criteria of choosing a honest and dishonest bureaucrat? Why are the dishonest not removed in first place? What was their dishonesty. I second another friend's comment that why not decide on merit. If there are strict rules everyone will be honest.

BTW Arsalan Iftikhar could be one of the honest bureaucrats.

Faheem May 23, 2013 08:22am

I think he wanna recruit honest persons instead of bureaucrats. :D

Pakistani May 23, 2013 09:13am

Maulana Nawaz Sharif looking for Maulana Bureaucrat

ahmad butt May 23, 2013 10:27am

@Richard: Ywa the words in a sentence sound like an oxymoron, and lacing that with PMLN is the trump card of of all political irony.

Nadeem Ullah May 23, 2013 01:02pm

@Khalid: Not sure why people rated your comment down.

saylani May 23, 2013 01:04pm

Ask anbody in Karachi if sharif can select honest bureaucrats and answer will be no because nobody from Karachi want him as Prime minister in his days of prime streets of lahore use to washed with fresh water and one could find nobody even to sweep roads in karachi we are sure it will happen again as already they have started nicking electricity from karachi , Karachi will be ignored again

Khalid May 23, 2013 04:45pm

@Nadeem Ullah: I guess merit is not a word we like in Pakistan. Nothing is done on merit in our beloved country. When did you last see an advertisement from state owned organisations like PIA, Steel Mills, State Bank, Railways etc for an IQ test ?.

Ejaz May 23, 2013 05:13pm

Honest civil servants can only work effectively with honest politicians. Nawaz should look at his own party first.

hassan mahmood May 23, 2013 05:49pm

all those persons who have commented deserved to be having corrupt zardari and company so instead of hoping for best start assuming

hassan mahmood May 23, 2013 05:50pm

@Khalid: r u honest with your job or country? just do accountability of ur self first

Mohd Ghalib May 23, 2013 06:20pm

Take me on, you will never regret as regards honesty, patriotism, accountability and hard work. Only snag is I say my prayers in a "place of worship".

Ahmad May 23, 2013 07:33pm

Select as western democracies do. Do it live in front of cameras in the assembly of Pakistan. Ask for financial statements and make it public. Evaluate their credentials and experience for that job and ask questions. The confirmation vote should be taken by the MPs in open forum. Clear message to the candidates: NO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS, NO JOB. IF YOU LIE AND GOT CAUGHT, GO TO JAIL. Mr. Sharif, do you have balls to do it? Need help Pakistanis all over the world are ready. Look beyond Rai Wind.

Salman Sajjad Ahmed May 23, 2013 07:51pm

Are you kidding me? There is no such thing as an honest bureaucrat in Pakistan.

Ravian May 23, 2013 10:37pm

Mian sahib, to begin with has embarked upon an impossible task. An honest bureaucrat is an extinct commodity in Pakistan. Good luck to him any way.

Shahpur May 23, 2013 11:50pm

Nawaz should ask Zardari and his two Prime Ministers for advice.

zobia khan May 23, 2013 11:56pm

Why don't they have senate confirmation hearings? Nominate a secretary then have the senate confirm them in open hearings.

If later there are issues then the senate can vote to impeach.

zobia khan May 23, 2013 11:59pm

@Khalid: IQ never equals ability. The organizations you mention are very complex. Take for instance Microsoft - Bill Gates didn't have a very high IQ, in fact he dropped out of college and was never a good student. But because he was a non-academic he had the ability to think out of the box. School for most people forces them to think within a certain structure. Same case with Steve Jobs, he dropped out of college too.

What you need at that level is people with the ability to bring teams together to work efficiently. Having a high IQ only means that you will be good at answering mundane questions.

independentthinker May 24, 2013 03:46am

If you truly are looking for "honest bureaucrats", why don't you look at Imran Khan for assistance. He might not have won more seats in the elections, he comes out to be the most honorable person in Pakistani politics. If Sharif has Pakistan's interest in mind, work with someone who shares the same values. While staying as the new Prime Minister, he can involve Imran Khan to rid the country of corruption. Let the people of Pakistan see for themselves that Nawaz Sharif is not here for personal gains and he is open to ideas from the opposition, if the ultimate result is in the country's interest. This country can still prosper, if the leaders put Pakistan first, instead of themselves.

independentthinker May 24, 2013 03:51am

@saylani: can we give Nawaz Sharif a chance - maybe he has changed - just maybe he is looking at how to serve Pakistan. If he gets good people surrounding him and gets leaders like Imran Khan work with him, I am sure he can come out to be an effective leader.

Agha Ata May 24, 2013 06:39am

An honest bureaucrat? Isn't that oxymoron?

Bong May 24, 2013 07:31pm

@independentthinker: you understand the meaning of bureaucrat ?