Where is the merit Shahbaz Sharif?
Transfers in civil and police administration in Punjab have become a joke, based on personal likes and dislikes
Transfers and postings in the civil and police administration on merit is considered a hallmark of good governance. This, quite simply, means posting a suitable and competent officer to a place which demands that such an individual be in charge of a particular responsibility.
Unfortunately with the passage of time, merit in transfers and postings in civil and police administration in Punjab has become a bit of a joke and an exercise in futility. Most postings and transfers are based on personal likes and dislikes of senior functionaries.
Even the officers of the provincial management service (PMS) are being treated as step-children when transfers are being made. As a reporter for this newspaper, I have met several reasonably senior civil servants who have expressed frustration and resentment at their transfers and postings. And the sense one gets is that they usually blame the top two people in charge of the whole process of transfers and postings: the provincial chief minister and the province’s chief secretary.
A common complaint heard from officers of the provincial management service is that their rights are being usurped by members of the District Management Group (DMG) officers in civil administration. They also claim that a very senior officer in the province is behind the recent postings of officers from his own province (he is not from Punjab) and that this is clearly not being done on merit but on nepotism. Yet another complaint is thatmany junior officers are serving posts that should be filled by more senior officers and that several such slots include those of district coordination officers, a senior administrative posting requiring its incumbent to carry out an array of responsibilities. And the issue is compounded by the fact that several senior officers are in line, awaiting posting.
This resentment and frustration has also echoed on the floor of the Punjab assembly with at least one opposition party MPA, the PML-Q’s Atta Muhammad Maneka, accusing the Punjab chief minister of running a “bacha” (child) bureaucracy. Of course, this all runs quite contrary to the public perception that the chief minister and his team of bureaucrats are bent on conveying to the people of the province in particular. As the saying goes, some things never change.