Provincial officers reject Civil Services Reforms

Legal status of PAS has been challenged in the court, Sindh officers stand with the association

KHALID RASHEED March 14, 2020

LAHORE: A convention of the All-Pakistan Provincial Management Services Association (APPMSA) held in Lahore on Sunday, March 1 has rejected the reforms proposed by the Dr Ishrat Hussain-led task force on Civil Services Reforms.

The APPMSA convention, which convened officers from all four provinces, discussed provincial autonomy and has also announced of approaching the court. According to the provincial officers present at the convention, the provinces don’t exercise autonomy and thus are not authorized to post their own Inspector General (IG) or Chief Secretary. “The provincial government should enjoy the authority of dealing with its affairs. The seats of the chief secretaries should be filled from the provincial service in all four provinces.”

As per Sindh Provincial Civil Association Vice-Chairperson Aziz Rahim Khan, provincial officers have remained deprived of their rights even after the 18th Amendment. “The legal status of Pakistan Administration Service (PAS) has been challenged in the court and Sindh officers stand with the association in the pursuits of their rights,” he added.

Present at the convention, Balochistan Secretariat Association leader Taqi Usman said that all politicians seem to talk about the writ of the constitution but little of it seems to be implemented. “The Balochistan province had not come into being by 1954, when the formula for the division of posts in the civil service was formulated. Hence, the employees of the province are not being offered quota as per the 1954 formula,” Usman added.

“The Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS), which is supposed to be the prestigious cadre of the Civil Service of Pakistan, enjoys no legal status here. So, how will the provinces enjoy freedom and autonomy if the civil servants are deputed from the centre?” he remarked.

“Several stolen government vehicles have been recovered from the residence of PAS officer in Quetta and PAS officers without any legal status are posted on the seats of Provincial Management Service (PMS) Officers,” said Usman quoting an incident.

According to PSM Khyber Pakhtunkhwa President Abdul Ghafoor Baig, K-P officers will stand shoulder to shoulder with the association when it comes to resolving their issues.

“Today, it seems that no one cares about the people or the governance and since the past 70 years, they [people in power] have only been trying to maintain their hegemony. Corruption has been on the rise and service delivery and good governance are in the shambles. We demand the people in power to empower us for good governance and service delivery.”

“The government has been unable to change a Sindh IG for the past two months. And since provinces are not autonomous, they even like the authority and the capacity to appoint their own IG or chief secretory. Ideally, the provincial government should be empowered enough to undertake provincial arrangements on its own but sadly, the situations are such that neither our provincial assemblies are strong nor the provincial Chief Ministers. As a result of which a few hundred officers in all the four provinces have held hijacked the rights of thousands of officers.”

As per Punjab PSM President Tariq Mehmood Awan, over 4,000 provincial officers of the association reject the proposed laws of the civil reforms. “The centre is trying to dictate provincial officers but the country cannot move forward until the provincial reforms are made,” said Awan. “I cannot take action against the Chief Secretary of Pakistan Administration Services but the Chief Ministers of the four provinces and the assembly speakers should listen to us in times when our authority is being compromised,” he added.

On the other hand, according to the attendees of the convention, the realities presented by Dr Ishrat Hussain’s committee in the cabinet are based on false statements. “The province cannot improve with the deputation of the Chief Secretary from Islamabad,” they claimed.

The joint press release of the convention demanded disapproval of the civil service reforms on the provincial seats, done under the Chairpersonship of Dr Ishrat Hussain. They demanded that the federal officers deputed on provincial posts be sent back to the Centre and that training be offered in line with the latest requirements of the provincial civil service.

Other than that, the attendees also demanded to depute the chief secretaries in all four provinces from the provincial service. “We demand the Prime Minister and all the Chief Ministers to fix a meeting and resolve this issue as soon as possible,” they asserted.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 14th, 2020.


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