LAHORE: The federal government has sought explanation from 29 police officers and bureaucrats serving across the country in BS-20 for defying transfer orders issued by the Establishment Division, Islamabad, under the newly-enforced Rotation Policy 2020.
Defending the officers for not complying with the orders, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and Punjab Chief Secretary Kamran Ali Afzal have written letters to the prime minister and the Establishment Division, respectively.
The Punjab chief secretary stated in his letter that the province was already facing shortage of PAS and PSP officers and requested that the transferred officers be allowed to continue serving till their replacements were found.
The Sindh chief minister says the federal government had posted only 50 per cent of the sanctioned strength of PAS and PSP officers in the province. And in case of BS-20 officers, only 20 officers were posted in Sindh against the sanctioned strength of 67 seats. In case of PSP officers in BS-20, he stated, 22 officers against the strength of 26 were posted in Sindh.
The Establishment Division snubbed the Punjab chief secretary saying the Rotation Policy 2020 was framed in consultation with the chief secretaries in a bid to rationalise shortage of officers in each grade among the provincial governments by transferring the least rotated officers. “Any compromise on this issue will result in you and I compromising on and undermining the policy,” the Establishment Division secretary stated.
Meanwhile, the explanation letters issued to the senior PAS and PSP officers were being considered as a major action. In case of not complying with the direction to explain their position, the federal government has hinted at initiating strict disciplinary action. In August 2020, Prime Minister Imran Khan in consultation with the provinces had approved the new rotation policy to ensure that the civil servants belonging to PAS and PSP do not stay in a single province or station for more than a specified number of years. The Division transferred the officers some two weeks ago for serving more than 10 years consecutively in a province.
Later, it transpired that they had not joined their duties even two weeks after the transfer orders. The Establishment Division took up the matter with the prime minister who directed it to start departmental proceedings and it issued notices to the 29 officers seeking explanation from them within seven days.
An explanation notification issued to a police officer serving in the National Highways and Motorways Police reads, “I am directed to refer to the subject noted above and to state that the Division placed your services at the disposal of the Baluchistan government under Rotation Policy 2020 but you have not yet submitted your joining report.”
“I am therefore directed to ask you to explain your position regarding non-compliance of above transfer orders in writing within seven days of issuance of this explanation so as to enable this Division to take further necessary action in the matter.”
The Division also warned the officers that if explanation was not received in the specified time or it was found to be unsatisfactory, a case for disciplinary proceedings would be recommended against them.
Some senior officers see it as a ‘political move’ saying the ruling elite in the federal government believes that these officers have developed ‘political affiliations’ with the PML-N and the PPP while serving in Punjab and Sindh over a period of 10 years. The question that needs to be asked is whether these transfers will add to stability in the provinces or vice versa, they ask.
An officer said the Division initiated major departmental action when the Sindh government recently refused to relieve the officers and asked it to review its decision. The Punjab government also delayed the process of relieving the officers and requested the Division to allow them to continue services till their replacements were found, he said.
However, he said, the federal government turned down the requests of both provinces, giving a clear message to them that they were civil servants and the Establishment Division was the only competent authority that reserved right to regulate their transfer/postings and promotion matters. The explanation notices were issued to DIG NH&MP Mansoor Alam Kolachi, Sindh Director FIA Zone-II Mohammad Younas Chandio, Pakistan Railways DIG South Shahzad Akbar, Sindh DIG CTD Omer Shahid Hamid, awaiting posting in Sindh Abdullah Sheikh, Karachi DIG CIA Nouman Siddiqui, Karachi Range DIG East Zone Saqib Ismail Memon, Karachi Range South Zone DIG Javed Akbar Riaz, Sindh Special Branch DIG Naeem Ahmad Sheikh, Karachi Range Security and Emergency Services DIG Lt (Rtd) Maqsood Ahmad, Sahiwal RPO Ahmad Arslan Malik, Punjab Special Branch Additional IG Zaeem Iqbal Sheikh, Multan RPO Syed Khurram Ali, Sheikhupura RPO Inam Waheed, Punjab Traffic DIG Sohail Akhtar Sukhera, Punjab Headquarters DIG Zubair Dreshak and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Malakand RPO Abdul Ghafoor Afridi.
The PAS officers who were directed to submit explanation include Punjab Management and Special Development Department Secretary Ali Tahir, DG Khan Division Commissioner Sarah Aslam, Sargodha Division Commissioner Ms Farah Masood, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Forestry, Environment and Wildlife Department Secretary Lt (Rtd) Islam Zaib, Sindh Planning and Development Board Chairman Syed Hassan Naqvi, Rawalpindi Defence Division Joint Secretary Noreen Bashir, Sindh PPHI Chief Executive Zahid Ali Abbasi, Lahore Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) Managing Director Khalid Saleem, Punjab Finance Department Secretary Flt. Lt. (Rtd) Iftikhar Ali Sahoo, Sindh College Education Department Secretary Khalid Hyder Shah, Sindh Mines and Mineral Development Department Secretary Kazim Hussain Jatoi and KP Finance Department Secretary Atif Rehman.
Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2021