The recent surprise inspection of government offices and public hospitals by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar will inspire the much-needed confidence in the people that the government cares for them. It is after a long time that a chief minister has paid surprise visits to government organisations that are meant to serve the common people and has taken to task several public servants, including police officers and doctors, for dereliction of duty. He took disciplinary action against 27 officials. Twelve officials have been suspended, four have been removed from their posts and others issued show-cause notices.
The CM visited several cities of south Punjab in one day to see the functioning of government offices and healthcare institutions and took disciplinary action against officials found wanting in performance. He visited departments and wards in hospitals, and at one of the hospitals suspended the medicine in charge for failure to provide medicines to patients from the hospital. He asked attendants about the quality of services being provided at the infirmary, and the action against the official responsible for the provision of medicines came following complaints from attendants about non-availability of medicines at the hospital. An erring high official of the Solid Waste Management Department of a district has been transferred to a relatively insignificant post. This is expected to have a salutary effect on other officials of this department considering the prevailing unsatisfactory hygienic conditions in most urban areas of the country. The CM also paid a visit to a police station in Taunsa where he inquired about conditions of those inside the lockup.
Surprise inspection of government departments, hospitals and educational institutions in other provinces too are needed, even though some civil servants dislike a bold political leadership. A strong political leadership and efficient civil servants are a sine qua non of good governance. The action taken by the Punjab CM is a move in the right direction.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2021.
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