The administration of Balochistan is in a decrepit state. While a large share of the blame is placed on ministers in absentia, the engine of governance, the bureaucracy, is also running on empty in the troubled province.
A comparison of District Management Group (DMG) officers posted in Punjab and Balochistan presents a skewed and problematic picture, with the former operating with hundreds of officers and the latter with only 26, The Express Tribune has learned.
As many as 287 DMG officers are working in Punjab whereas only 26 DMG officers are posted in various slots in Balochistan to deal with government business and assist political leadership in serving the masses.
According to available data, there are 466 sanctioned posts reserved for DMG officers ranging from BS-22 to BS-17 in the provincial administrative hierarchy of Punjab from assistant commissioners to chief secretary as per the Inter-Provincial Coordination Committee (IPCC) formula.
In Balochistan there are 234 sanctioned posts reserved for DMG officers in BS-22 to BS-17 in the provincial administrative hierarchy to handle public affairs, enforce law and establish the writ of government in the province.
The allocation was made with the goal of achieving broader national objectives through national integration and cohesion among the federating units, a senior official said, requesting anonymity.
There is one sanctioned post in BS-22 for the Chief Secretary (CS) to head the bureaucracy in Punjab where three senior DMG officers are currently posted, including CS Nasir Mehmood Khosa, Chairman Planning and Development, Aslam Javed and senior member on the Board of Revenue, Sami Saeed.
There is also one post in BS-22 in Balochistan for a CS, but the incumbent, Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad, is posted in BS-21.
In BS-21, there are 16 total posts reserved for DMG officers in Punjab. Currently, 15 officers are already posted, leaving only one slot vacant.
In Balochistan, five posts in BS-21 are reserved for DMG officers, but only two have been filled. Three slots have been vacant for the past year.
As many as 66 posts have been reserved for DMG officers in BS-20 in Punjab.
There are 68 DMG officers posted in BS-20 working in the provincial civil administration, exceeding three from its quota reserved for other provincial cadres.
In Balochistan there are 23 posts reserved for DMG officers in BS-20, but only six officers are working, which leaves 17 posts vacant without any justification. In BS-19, there are 106 posts for DMG officers in Punjab and 66 have been filled.
In Balochistan, as many as 35 posts in BS-19 are reserved for DMG officers. Out of these, only one DMG officer has filled a seat. This leaves 34 seats vacated, with one man doing the job of 35. In BS-18, there are 205 sanctioned posts for DMG officers in Punjab according to the IPCC formula but 83 officers are currently working.
In Balochistan, there are 40 posts in civil administration reserved for DMG officers in BS-18 but only eight seats posts have been filled. The posts in BS-17 present a similar picture, as there are 72 reserved for DMG in Punjab and 52 have been filled.
In Balochistan, there are 125 posts in BS-17 reserved for DMG officers but only nine officers are working.
“The DMG has been taking the lion’s share of postings in different slots in Punjab,” a group of Provincial Civil Service (PCS) officers requesting anonymity told The Express Tribune.
The system in Punjab is quite different from that of the other three provinces, the PCS officers said. The officers claimed that even DMG officers from other provinces preferred to serve in Punjab due to the perks and privileges available in the province.
Taking serious notice of shortage of officers in Balochistan, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf issued a new rotation policy last Saturday.
Officers say they are reluctant to serve in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa despite lucrative packages offered by the federal government, owing to the prevailing unrest in those areas.
In Sindh, the provincial cadre dominates civil administration and DMG officers are not interested in posts of lesser importance.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2012.