PESHAWAR: The establishment department is understood to have favoured several well-connected bureaucrats by flouting the cabinet’s orders to transfer all those serving in the same department for more than two years.

Sources told Dawn that around three dozen officials of BPS-18 and above were recently transferred fromthe Chief Minister’s Secretariat and finance and establishment departments forprolonged posting but quite a few with the help of friends in high places stayed put or got their transfers reversed.

They said not only did the pick-and-choose approach of the authorities to the enforcement of laws and rules politicise bureaucracy but it also demoralised the officers, who really wanted to serve the province.

The provincial cabinethad decided around two years ago that the government officers would work in the same department for two years at maximum.

Favours several officers by either violating cabinet decision on same dept service or withdrawing transfer orders

Acting accordingly, the establishment department on August 18 transferred 35 officers of BPS-18 and BPS-19 of the establishment and finance departments and Chief Minister’s Secretariat. Many of them had been working in those departments for many years.

The department issued a notification announcing the transfer of fourdeputy secretaries of the finance department to the Chief Minister’s Secretariat and home, higher education and science and technology departments. However, another notification came five days later declaring the retention of two deputy secretaries of the finance department and four deputy secretaries of the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, officials told Dawn.

They insisted that of those four deputy secretaries, two were retained by the finance department, while the others were posted to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Revenue Authority. The officials said the two deputy secretaries continued to hold their old positions in the finance department though they worked in the KPRA ‘on paper’.

They also said the other deputy secretaries posted to the finance department were not assigned any official duty as their offices were ‘occupied’ by those posted to the KPRA.

The establishment department had notified the retention of two deputy secretaries by the finance department and three by the Chief Minister’s Secretariat on August 23.

Sources said the cabinet directed the administrative secretaries of all departments on August 23 to compile lists of those working in their departments for over two years for immediate transfer, but the establishment department issued those retention orders the same day.

Sources in the KPRA told Dawn that they hadn’t seen anyone in the offices of the deputy director (finance) and deputy director (tax policy) as both had working as the deputy secretaries in the finance department.

They said officials of the provincial secretariat were posted to the KPRA to claim perks and privileges and KPRA’s special allowance i.e. Rs70,000 for BPS-18 officials.

The sources said the KPRA would suffer if two of its deputy directors worked in other departments.

A senior official at the civil secretariat told Dawn that the cabinet’s decision about the transfer of officials from their department after two years posting was a welcome move but it was unfortunate to see the authorities foil its implementation in letter and spirit.

The official wondered why some officials had become so indispensablefor departments that their mandatory transfer after two years service was resisted.

Secretary of the establishment department Zakir Husain Afridi was not available in his office for comments for being on leave to attend a training programme as told by a staff member.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2022

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