PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led provincial government has opted to follow its predecessors’ footsteps as the politically motivated postings and transfers of senior grade officers continues in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, according to officials.
Information gathered from the Civil Secretariat sources reveals that practices such as officers getting their favourite posts, switching over from one service to another and maneuvering to get field posts continue unabated as PTI has yet to make an imprint, ending the politically motivated postings and transfers.
“The things that should not have been done in the past, continue to make mockery of the official mechanisms,” said a senior official.
Shah Rehman, brother of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa information minister Shah Farman, belonging to PTI, got his services switched over to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Civil Secretariat in September last year.
A grade-19 officer of the Pakistan Audit and Accounts Service, Mr Rehman, according to officials, was transferred to the province after the provincial government requisitioned his services from his parent department.
“As per the government rules, the provincial government can requisition the services of any particular civil officer to fulfil its needs as at times, it faces shortage of technical staff,” said an official on deputation with the provincial government.
However, according to sources, things do not work like this.
As per the government’s deputation policy seen by Dawn, a request for the requisition should be an initiative of the government, and not a making of the employee.
“Practically, this does not happen like this as almost all officers, who are placed at the disposal of the province take the initiative to get himself transferred from the parent department to the place of choice,” said an official, privy to the matter.
The placement of Mr Rehman’s services with the provincial government smacks of a making of political maneuvering because he was transferred to the province after his brother’s PTI came into power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“My brother (the provincial information minister) has got nothing to do with it,” said Mr Rehman, when reached over the telephone.
He said his services had also been requisitioned by the previous provincial government led by Awami National Party, but it did not materialise.
An official privy to the matter, however, said Mr Rehman’s services were requisitioned by the provincial government on the initiative of an influential political figure and not on the asking of the provincial finance department or the establishment department.
“Technically, the finance department (where he served for awhile before posted to the planning department) should have initiated the request, which is not the case,” said an official. This also holds water as after being posted as the additional secretary finance (Provincial Finance Commission), Mr Rehman stayed there only for three weeks.
After three weeks of his placement at the finance department, Mr Rehman was transferred to the planning and development department, as an additional secretary.
“I fulfil the criteria and requirements of the post of additional secretary P&D,” said Mr Rehman. He was candid and justifying the transferring of his services to the provincial government he said there was nothing wrong about the matter.
Another officer on deputation said on the condition of anonymity that: “we come against a 10 per cent quota specified by the provincial government for technical staff/professionals working in the central services.”
Nonetheless, an official familiar with the rules dismissed the information.
He said the 10 per cent quota was specified for the technical staff of the provincial government’s line departments. The technical staff like doctors and teachers can be posted to the provincial Civil Secretariat from their provincial department concerned, according to the PMS Rules, 2007 seen by Dawn.
In the previous ANP-led government, another accounts group officer was brought in to work at the P&D department. After completing his three-year deputation period with the provincial government, he was recently given extension for another two years, which is the maximum (five years) an officer on deputation can spend in a single stretch.
“The deputation helps the central services’ officers from the Accounts Group or the ones belonging to the railways cadre come out of obscurity,” said one of the officers on deputations.
“The provincial government’s job gives them stability and exposure, making their career growth somewhat easy compared to their parent department that rotates them from one far off and less developed town to another,” said the official, requesting anonymity.
However, the account services’ officers and an officer from Pakistan Railways are not the only officers who have managed to get good Politically motivated postings, transfers continue in KP postings after PTI came into power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Two officers of the previously titled ‘Provincial Civil Services’ (Secretariat Group) were recently posted as deputy commissioners Upper Dir and Lower Dir districts to the dismay of the officers belonging to the Provincial Management Service and the PCS Executive Group.
“As per rules no one without field experience can be posted as the deputy commissioner because the post involves a lot of exposure and interaction with the public,” said an officer.
Bakhtiar Khan was serving in the chief secretary’s reform cell at the Civil Secretariat, Peshawar before his appointment as the deputy commissioner, while Zarif Muaani, brother of a Jamaat-i-Islami leader from Malakand, was an additional secretary before he was appointed the deputy commissioner.
However, the appointments have not been smooth for them as questions were raised about the two lacking experience as revenue collector.
The provincial government had to succumb to the pressure and opted to withdraw, sending them on training required for the deputy commissioner’s office.
Both the officers make part of the 38-member Secretariat Group officers, absorbed in the PMS, who recently started attending the revenue training.
“The government withdrew the notification and sent them to get the training,” said a senior officer.
“They might be notified as the deputy commissioners again once they return from the training.”
However, this too seems to be a difficult proposition as their political leanings towards JI have not gone well with certain non-bureaucratic influential quarters.
According to officials, their appointment as DCs of Lower Dir and Upper Dir could raise the question of conflict of interest for the provincial government, bringing it under further pressure.
“Both the districts are strongholds of JI and if the party has men of its choice as DCs here before the upcoming local government elections, this could be counterproductive,” said an official.
The argument does not appear to be without logic. After the issuance of the notification, the Dir-based leaders belonging to the opposition Qaumi Watan Party took to the streets to protest the government’s decision a few weeks ago.
Meanwhile, a PMS-officer is of the view that the government’s decision to impart revenue training to 38-Secretariat Group officers (absorbed in PMS) lacked legal footing in view of a recent judgment of the Supreme Court.