Various departments have complained to the Chief Minister’s Secretariat that political workers, ostensibly appointed to help members of the public at government departments, are a hindrance in administrative affairs, The Express Tribune has learnt.
“The muavins enjoy official protocol, offices and cars but do little in actually facilitating people,” an official said on the condition of anonymity.
The Punjab government appointed at least 25 workers of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz as muavins in January to supervise ‘Public Facilitation Centres’ where people who had turned up at administrative departments could get assistance. This was the latest in a series of moves by the government to improve public access and governance, including the constitution of 31 task forces, appointments of coordinators, political assistants and political advisors, establishment of complaints cells, holding of open courts and its ‘open door policy’ in all departments.
According to a notification issued by Noorul Amin Mengal, then special secretary to the chief minister, the muavin were appointed on a voluntary basis and put in charge of the PFCs.
“The PFCs will facilitate the general public seeking services at government institutions.
They will record public complaints and address them in collaboration with the authorities concerned through liaison officers nominated by the provincial secretaries. Administrative departments will ensure the provision of necessary logistic support and office with staff to start work on assignments,” reads the notification.
In their complaints to the CM’s Secretariat, officials said that the muavin were overstepping their limits. They had been touring the field formations of various departments to conduct inspections, issue directions and interfere in administrative affairs. They were holding meetings at which officers were being directed to act upon on their orders, when they did not have the authority to do so. They often had no knowledge about government policy or administrative constraints, the officials said.
They asked the CM’s Secretariat to direct the muavin to stop this practice.
Punjab government spokesman Pervaiz Rasheed said the muavins did not have the authority to interfere in administrative affairs. They were political workers and had been appointed to help the general public resolve issues at government departments. He said the government had not received any complaint about abuse of authority by muavins.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 12th, 2012.
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