The year 2020 saw transfers and postings in the bureaucracy and police in Punjab at a frequency never seen before.
The "tsunami" of ongoing bureaucratic changes in Punjab continued right till December 31.
The Punjab government could not form the province of South Punjab in 2020. However, the South Punjab Secretariat was established for the police and bureaucracy. Dera Ghazi Khan, Bahawalpur and Multan divisions were placed under the new secretariat where an additional inspector general (IG), an additional chief secretary and secretaries of several departments were posted along with their staff.
Officers serving on a number of posts were
replaced two to five times during the year, apparently due to lack of effective government planning. The officers remained uncertain about their future because of the prevailing conditions.
The government also reversed its tenure policy of keeping officials on the same post for three years and replaced them allegedly on the basis of likes and dislikes.
The services of more than 30 police and civil service officers were surrendered to the federal government, including BA Nasir, Zulfiqar Hameed, Akbar Nasir, Bilal Siddique Kamiana, Rai Babar Saeed, Asif Bilal Lodhi, Shaukat Ali, Arif Anwar Baloch and others. A large number of officers of grade 17 to 22 were transferred in the province during the year, including a chief secretary and an IG police. Major (retd) Azam Suleiman Khan served as chief secretary for a few months only. He was then prematurely retired and posted as the Punjab Ombudsman.
It has been a few months since the appointment of the new Chief Secretary, Jawad Rafique Malik and he appears to maintain a low profile so that he can work in peace.
Similarly, IG Punjab Police Dr Shoaib Dastgir, who was retiring in February 2021, was transfered due to a dispute with CCPO Lahore Omar Sheikh. Additional IG of South Punjab Inam Ghani has been posted as IG in grade 21 but IG Motorway Police Kaleem Imam is reportedly in the field again to replace him.
The chairpersons of planning and development board were changed twice, senior member Board of Revenue three times and additional chief secretary twice. Even the principal secretaries to the chief minister were replaced three times and one of them, Shoaib Akbar, left the province.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2021.