Bureaucrats call for equal representation

Task force’s head Ishrat Husain says all stakeholders will be onboard

Riazul Haq September 13, 2018
Task force’s head Ishrat Husain says all stakeholders will be onboard. PHOTO: REUTERS/ FILE

ISLAMABAD: The civil servants of 11 groups of bureaucracy have written an open letter to the prime minister expressing resentment over the proposed task force for reforms in the civil service. The group has urged the PM to balance out the committee.

The Office Management Group (OMG) has written the letter on behalf of the fellow bureaucrats over the growing unease in the civil servants since the formation of committee for civil service reforms on September 6, and has put forth several demands for consideration.

The terms of reference of the task force include preparing recommendations for the government for legislation purpose; devising a public service structure at federal and provincial levels; and looking into policies over human resource, management, recruitment, training, and career planning.

Dr Ishrat Hussain, an economist and former State Bank of Pakistan governor, is the chairperson of the 19-member taskforce.

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The letter states that all 12 occupational groups in civil service are recruited through highly competitive examination while the task force constituted for the reforms has 13 members from Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) erstwhile District Management Group.

“There is no representation from rest of the 11 services or groups at the said forum and to make the reforms meaningful, it is requested to include at least one representative from each group so that collective wisdom may prevail with a sustainable outcome,” the letter states.

Bureaucrats are of the concerned that representation from only PAS means the policy or reforms would be influenced and tilted to benefit only one group while status quo would prevail for the rest.

Commenting on the ‘missing’ representation, Dr Hussain told The Express Tribune that the task force’s job was to implement the reforms and it would be carried out in consensus with all the stakeholders.

“Look at Nadeemul Haq, he is among those who are against the domination of the PAS and its sway over the rest [of bureaucracy],” Hussain said adding it would not be what was out in the public.

About inclusion of representation from other groups, he said it was not possible to have everyone in the task force but decisions would be taking all on board.

In the letter the bureaucrats have also requested the PM to abolish arbitrary and unjust statutory regulatory orders (SROs) issued in 2004.

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“The executive posts of federal secretariat those of deputy secretary, joint secretary, additional secretary and federal secretary have been unlawfully and arbitrarily allocated to PAS against the spirit of the Constitution.”

The letter claims that grade 21 and 22 have mighty share of 65 per cent, which is 35 per cent in each for the rest of the groups despite the fact that all occupational groups joint the service through the same competitive process and undergo similar training courses.

The officers of OMG and secretariat group have also demanded that salary structure of their groups should also be incentivised to meet the growing challenges of inflation especially for the officers living in the federal capital.

The letter ends with the hope that to keep the reforms free of manipulations of vested interests and monopoly of any service, all groups should be equally represented.

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