By fixing any 'wrongs' by the outgoing Sindh government, Justice (retd) Zahid Kurban Alavi is planning to get rid of all employees who were appointed “illegally' or were given jobs violating merit.
In an exclusive interview with The Express Tribune on Thursday, Sindh’s new caretaker chief minister vowed never to accept those without merit. The caretaker set-up is revisiting out-of-turn promotion cases and assessing whether or not the officers were appointed on the basis of the legal requirements. “The provincial government has passed a bill giving legal cover to contractual employees,” he pointed out. “We cannot touch it [the bill], but there are reports of illegal appointments in various departments that will be reviewed and reinvestigated.”
Determined to ensure free and fair elections, Justice (retd) Alavi said he would never bow down before anyone and will work as a “neutral” and “independent” CM. His only aim is to pave the way for the election commission to hold transparent, fair and free polls. “Neither can I get dictation from anyone, nor am I accountable and answerable to any individual,” he said.
To achieve this, the caretaker chief minister has decided that the members of his cabinet will have no political affiliations. “If anyone is found supporting any political party, I will have to say goodbye to him,” he claimed. The outgoing government had nearly 60 departments with around 60 cabinet members, including ministers, advisers and special assistants. The new cabinet will have only 10 to 14 members, Alavi said.
He admitted that speculations are rife that political activists will be included in his cabinet, but he denied such reports. Alavi clarified that the home department will stay under his control and the rest of the portfolios will be distributed among other members. “I cannot give a deadline, but I assure you that a small, effective and objective cabinet will be made very soon.”
SC Karachi violence case
Justice (retd) Alavi is trying to implement all the orders given by the Supreme Court in the last hearing of the Karachi violence case. Police force will be depoliticised, no-go areas will be removed and action will be taken against the land mafia, he said.
It is a daunting task for him, but Alavi has started consultations with all stakeholders, including the judiciary, the police and other law enforcement agencies to comply with courts order and bring peace to Karachi. “I do not have a magic wand to resolve the issues overnight, but would try my level best to be fair in this short span of time,” he said. “If I fail, I should be taken to task.”
Law and order
The law and order situation in Sindh, particularly Karachi, is a priority for Justice (retd) Alavi, who has asked the Rangers to plan a strategy so that the elections can be held in peace. “I have given a free hand to the Sindh IG and the Rangers DG and I have met the chief justice of the high court to bring the peace in Karachi.”
Alavi plans to “make the heads of the departments responsible if any untoward incident happens in their domain”. He felt that frequent transfers and postings of government officials have worsened the performance of various departments, so he has asked the law department to ensure that the tenure of government officials are fixed for a specific period of time. “If needed, we can bring an ordinance to make a law on this issue.”
There are many loopholes in the way criminals are arrested and are presented before the judicial magistrate. Alavi plans to figure out a way to fix this too.
What about the opposition parties protesting his appointment? Alavi said he has tried to remain impartial, avoided offering favours to anyone and had recovered around Rs14 billion from those lands that were sold out at throwaway prices during past government’s tenures. “These people are not opposing me, but they cannot tolerate my neutrality.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2013.
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