Bureaucracy creating hurdles, says industries minister

Published: May 3, 2017
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ISLAMABAD: In less than a week, another federal minister has accused bureaucracy of creating hurdles in the delivery of service to the people.

Industries Secretary Khizar Hayat Gondal and Secretary to Prime Minister Fawad Hasan Fawad are creating hurdles in the way of conducting official business, said Federal Minister for Industries and Production Ghulam Murtaza Khan Jatoi while talking to The Express Tribune on Tuesday.

The minister said because of these hurdles he was unable to deliver on policy initiatives and complete projects despite availability of requisite resources.

Jatoi is serving as federal minister for the third time and is the son of former caretaker prime minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi. He has been elected Member of National Assembly from NA-211, Naushahro Feroze, Sindh, on the ticket of National Peoples Party (NPP).

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“Everything is on hold since the industries secretary assumed office and PM’s secretary is not even ready to meet me or attend my phone call,” said an apparently perturbed federal minister. Unlike the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) ministers who meet the PM every other day, Jatoi has not even had a chance to meet him one-on-one for months.

Jatoi blamed this situation for his inability to fulfill the promise of providing jobs and imparting technical training to the people.

The PM’s secretary was not available for comments. However, Gondal denied that he was creating hurdles for the federal minister. The work on the schemes that the federal minister initiated is going on, said Gondal.

But Jatoi went on to say that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was running the government through bureaucracy and he probably did not need ministers.

Jatoi is the second federal minister in the last five days to have spoken out against bureaucrats. Earlier, Federal Inter-Provincial Coordination Minister Riaz Pirzada resigned citing reservations against the bureaucracy. In his resignation to the prime minister, Pirzada said there has been a continued interference in his ministry and affiliated departments by the PM’s secretary.

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The allegations by two important federal ministers do not paint a rosy picture.

Except for the prime minister’s close aides like the finance minister, defence minister, interior minister and railways minister, almost all other ministers have been complaining about the attitude of bureaucrats, said sources in the Pakistan Secretariat.

They said most of the ministries are run through their federal secretaries and federal ministers are often bypassed even in making policies, which is the responsibility of the ministers under Rules of Business of 1973. The federal secretaries are the principal accounting officers responsible for execution of these policies.

The sources said the federal ministers who are from the PML-N’s coalition parties are particularly controlled through secretaries.

“I am under pressure of my family and constituency people,” said Jatoi while responding to a question whether he was thinking to quit and join the Pakistan Peoples Party. “As of now, I am doing my official work and my party is part of the coalition government.”

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He, however, complained about the attitude of the PM’s secretary. “Two months ago, my office wrote to the secretary to seek an appointment to discuss official business but has not received a reply till date,” said the federal minister.

He said that four months back during a telephonic conversation Fawad had made a promise to address his grievances but later on he did not even respond to the telephonic calls.

It is not for the first time that Jatoi has expressed such reservations. Earlier, he did not attend official business for eight long months and rejoined the office only after assurances given by Captain (retd) Mohammad Safdar, son-in-law of the prime minister.

“Captain Safdar took me to the prime minister who assured me that my grievances would be addressed but nothing happened after Gondal was appointed as the industries secretary,” said Jatoi.

He said that he wanted to set up a National Industrial Park and an NFC university in Naushahro Feroze and both the projects had all the requisite approvals. There are two campuses of NFC University in Punjab and none in Sindh, said the minister. He said that the purpose of these projects is to promote small and medium-sized industries and create job opportunities for locals but the bureaucracy was creating hurdles.

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However, Gondal claimed that the work on National Industrial Park was underway.

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