Courtesy: Daily "The News", 21 April 2011
The musical chairs game forced on top bureaucrats
By ANSAR ABBASIISLAMABAD: While the country is badly suffering because of poor policy-making, bad governance and mounting corruption, ad hocism rules the civil bureaucracy with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani not letting even the federal secretaries to settle anywhere.
Whimsical postings and transfers in the civil bureaucracy are not letting even the top bureaucrats to concentrate on one area and make effective policies for the current challenges haunting Pakistan. As a consequence, the country has no sound policies but economic mess, water crisis, energy load shedding, gas shortage, worse law and order, poor personnel management etc.
A cursory look into the top-level changes, made by PM Gilani during his three years rule, shows the positions of federal secretaries having served as musical chairs for the senior-most officers in the civilian bureaucracy. Non-seriousness on the part of the top rulers is so serious that even the ministries and divisions like finance, petroleum, water and power, establishment and several others were not spared from this ongoing game of musical chairs.
A government servant is generally given a three-year term against a particular position, but during Gilani’s regime not even a single federal secretary has been allowed to complete his tenure.
The Finance Ministry which, during the PPP’s present rule, saw three political heads—Ishaq Dar, Shaukat Tareen and Dr Hafeez Shaikh—has been much worse for the finance secretaries. Gilani changed the finance secretaries at least five time, and most interestingly he tested the incumbent secretary finance twice against the same position.
Dr Waqar Masood Khan, the incumbent secretary finance, was holding the same position when Gilani took over as Prime Minister in March 2008. Within a couple of months, Gilani replaced Dr Waqar with Farrukh Qayum, but within a few months Qayum was again replaced by Dr Waqar. Later again within months, Dr Waqar was changed and replaced by Salman Siddiq, who was recently shifted to the FBR and replaced yet again by Dr Waqar Masood. The Finance Ministry is one of the most vital federal entities to frame economic policies and set the direction for the financial growth of the economy.
Much worse has been the situation in the case of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, which is squarely responsible to deal with the issues of petroleum products, CNG, LNG, LPG, Sui gas etc. and is required to envisage projects whereby Pakistan can be self-reliant in such energy resources. However, practically Pakistan’s resources are depleting, oil prices are rising, CNG and natural gas is in shortage, LPG is one-person specific whereas there is no timeframe for the import of LNG.
Under Gilani’s leadership, the important ministry like petroleum has become the most unpredictable for federal secretaries as at least seven of them were tested during the last three years. These secretaries have been Imtiaz Qazi, Kamran Lashari, Mehmood Salim Mehmood, G A Sabri, Zafar Mehmood, Farrukh Qayyum and Ahmad Waqar. The Petroleum Ministry is now waiting for the 8th secretary as Imtiaz Qazi’s marching order has already been issued.
The Water and Power Ministry, too, saw at least three federal secretaries, including Javed Akhter, Shahid Rafi and Ismail Qureshi, during the last three years. The Water and Power Ministry is the key to envisage and frame water and electricity policies. The country is deficient in both the water and the power sectors, but Gilani did not trust anyone. Interestingly, if not all the three, most of the secretaries, who led the Water and Power Ministry, did not have any experience and expertise of the area.
Prime Minister Gilani has even been uncertain with his own staff as he frequently changed all the key members of his bureaucratic team, including his principal secretary and secretaries of the Cabinet Division and the Establishment Division. Gilani started with Siraj Shamsuddin as his principal secretary and then tested Nargis Sethi and now is experiencing Khusnud Lashari.
The Establishment Division, which comes directly under the Prime Minister, also saw quite a few secretaries in the past three years. They include Abdul Rauf Chaudhry, Ismael Quershi, Ghiyasuddin Ahamd and Tariq Ali Bokhari.
The Cabinet Division, which is also under the prime minister, saw at least four federal secretaries, including Ghiasuddin, Nargis Sethi, Rauf chaudhry and Zafar Mehmood.
Another all important federal entity—the Ministry of Commerce—has been tested with four secretaries, including Zafar Mehmood, Qamar Zaman, additional secretary in charge, Salman Ghani and Asif shah.
The Economic Affairs Division has seen Abdul Wajid Rana, Sibtain Fazl Halim, Furrukh Qayyum and Akram Malik.
The Food and Agriculture Ministry saw Shafqat Nagmi, Junaid Iqbal Chaudhry, Ziaur Rehman and Ismael Quershi. This inconsistency in the Food Ministry led Pakistan to face the worst kind of food crisis, including phenomenal price-hike of food items.
In case of other ministries too, the situation has been disappointing as Prime Minister Gilani did not let any federal secretary to settle anywhere.
According to the details, the Education Ministry saw three secretaries, including Ather Ali khan, Abdul Rauf Chaudhry and Imtiaz Qazi; Environment Ministry had Kh M Naeem, Javed Malik and Kamran Lashari; Housing and Works witnessed Raja M Abbas, Ahmad Bukhsh Lehri, GM Sikender, Samiul haq Khilji and Rauf chaudhry; the Ministry of Information Technology was tested with Saeed Ahmad Khan, Rauf Chaudhry, Najeebullah Malik, Hafizur Rehman and Furrukh Qayyum; Information and Broadcasting Ministry witnessed Taimoor Azmat Usman, Mansoor Sohail, Ashfaq Gondal and Akram Shaheedi; Ministry of Kashmir Affairs saw Salman Siddque, Muhammad Ihtesham Khan and Javed Malik; Minorities is tested with Javed Akhtar, Inammullah Khan Toru, Abid Javed Akber and Abdul Ghaffar Somoro; Population Welfare Division saw Shehzado Sheikh, Nayyer Agha and Shaukat Hayat Durrani; Privatisation Commission has been tested with Muhammad Ijaz Chaudhry, Shahab Khawaja, Ahmad Jawad and Arif Mansoor; Youth Affairs saw Major Iqbal, Nazer Hussain Meher and Hifzur Rehman; Sports Ministry is tested with Aziz Ahmad Bilour (additional secretary in charge), Anisul Hasnain and M Ashraf Khan; Women Development Ministry witnessed Batool Iqbal Quershi, Saroat Lashari and Raja Raza Arshad; Ministry of Religious Affairs saw Shaukat Durrani, Agha Sewar Raza Qazilbash, Najeebullah Malik, AR Abid and Vakeel Khan; and the Railways Ministry is tested with Shahid Hussain Raja, Sami Khilji and Kashif Murtaza.
In certain cases, the abovementioned changes were necessitated by the retirement of officers, but in most of the cases the officers were transferred on the mere whims and wishes of the rulers.
Note: The viewpoint expressed in this article is solely that of the writer. "FATA Awareness Initiative" Team may not agree with the opinion presented........................
We Hope You find the info useful. Keep visiting this blog and remember to leave your feedback / comments / suggestions / requests.
"FATA Awareness Initiative" Team.