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LAHORE: Provincial Management Service (PMS) officers feel that their Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) counterparts are pushing them against the wall – for not joining their plan to protest the arrest of a PAS officer arrested for alleged corruption.

The PMS Association has announced observing ‘Black Day’ inside the civil secretariat on March 16 to express its resentment against the PAS, formerly district management (DMG) group, for its perpetual harsh stance against PMS officers.

The Association is observing the ‘Black Day’ to commemorate the arrests of their 73 officers, including four female officers, by the DMG, for protesting at the illegal detention of their colleagues.

The association has this time decided to observe a peaceful protest against PAS officers’ `indifference’ towards them with a silent demonstration.

The PMS association for the past two months had been trying to see the chief secretary to resolve career issues, including poor career planning, progression and low pay packages.

The chief secretary, however, declined audience to its delegation, led by president Shahid Husain, when they went to meet the top boss on a courtesy call. The delegation waited in the chief secretary’s waiting room for over two hours.

The association made a representation to the chief secretary explaining ‘demotivating’ factors for the PMS officers and proposals for improvement and wanted that the top boss listen to them and resolve their issues.

The association demands that the PMS cadre be upgraded in terms of better pay packages, promotion prospects and postings against the posts vacant in different grades across the province. It says some 50 posts have been lying vacant in the province for a long time but the promotion boards are not being convened.

At one point, the chief secretary asked the additional chief secretary to hold a meeting with the PMS association office-bearers but the issue could not be resolved owing to the PAS delaying tactics, says the association.

In the meantime, the arrest of former Lahore Development Authority director-general Ahad Cheema forced the PAS to seek PMS association’s support for a strike against Mr Cheema’s arrest. The additional chief secretary, in a meeting, even promised to fulfill PMS officers’ all legitimate demands.

The PMS association decided not to become part of any illegal activity and protect an officer charged with corruption.

The association also reminded the PAS that they had ordered the arrest of 73 PMS officers for protesting the arrest of two section officers on March 18, 2011. Since they refused to become part of an illegal protest, it says, the PMS association’s legitimate demands stand unresolved.

PMS Association president Shahid Husain calls March 18 a black day in the history of Civil Service of Punjab. Following arrests, he says, hundreds of provincial service officers were transferred, served with notices and persecuted to the worst possible extent for speaking against oppression and demanding their due rights.

As March 18 fell on Sunday, Mr Husain told Dawn the association had decided to hold its peaceful protest on the lawns in front of chief secretary’s office in civil secretariat on March 16.

Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2018