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National

October 25, 2018
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Inactivity in bureaucracy hampers govt’s efforts to move forward

National

October 25, 2018

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In this October 16 photo, Prime Minister Imran Khan chairing a meeting on establishment of Complaint Cell at PM Office. -APP 

Islamabad: The sense of uncertainty prevailing in the bureaucracy has bogged down the government efforts to make speedy progress on the vociferous promises it had made before coming to power.

To top this uncertainty are the steps the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government took in a hurry, especially the postings and transfers of the officers, has brought the whole system almost to a grinding halt.

One is always hearing about the top or high-level meetings taking place in the echelons of powers where hectic discussions on the ‘way forward’ are being held. But one must concede that the bureaucracy is shy of acceding to the objectives and ideas the political leadership is trying to push on urgent basis. The result, the rusty system has not only come to a stop but it seems to be falling apart at times.

To quote just one example, the Minister of State for Interior, young and enthusiastic, Shehryar Afridi, with dreams of bringing about an overnight change, found the department dealing with visas in the Ministry as going too slow.

In exuberance he ordered mass scale postings and transfers in the concerned sections in the Ministry. The result proved drastic as the whole system got clogged as the new officers and staff is at total loss to understand the system.

They are unable to find the files, don’t know how to deal with the cases, at a loss to understand how to operate the computers as a result of which hundreds of visa seekers, especially the foreign students, are utterly frustrated! And this is just one small example.

At the larger scale, particularly in the policing country wide, this feeling of uncertainty and insecurity has created a situation where the performance of police has almost nosedived. And the beneficiaries are the criminals.

What Mr Shehryar Afridi is required to focus upon most is to first find the honest and credible officers and officials. These efforts have already suffered the worst set back when Nasir Khan Durrani, the retired Inspector-General of Police of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), decided not to be the part of the committee formed to introduce police reforms in the province of the Punjab on the lines of the KP.

This single event has triggered this feeling of uncertainty in the police department all over the country and the best beneficiaries are those who were becoming afraid of departmental accountability and face the consequences.

Whatever postings and transfers we have seen over the last month or so in the police department all over the country have yet not produced the required results, eventually reflecting adversely on the overall performance of the department.

On the other hand it has been learnt that some of the most senior police officers, enjoying unblemished professional service records and known for their honesty and integrity are preparing to leave the country. A number of such senior officers were side-lined and ‘dumped’ in some dungeon like offices to rot. And many of them have decided to leave the country and accept the offers to serve in the United Nation Peace Keeping Missions.

One such officer is Dr Sultan Azam Taimuri, who was removed from the office of the Inspector-General of Police, Islamabad. After serving some time in the Establishment Division, he was sent to National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) in some obscure position.

Now, he is all set to leave Islamabad and serve in Sudan as the ‘Second-in-Command’ of the UN Peace Keeping Forces. Well, no one is expecting a change in this rotten system overnight. Everybody is aware that they have not come to power holding a magic wand which they will waive and the things will change.

But over 60 days have passed since they came into power and they still seem to be groping in the dark, looking to find the end of the string from where to start untangling this messy situation they have found themselves in.

And what the PTI cabinet members, including Mr Shehryar Afridi, is required to learn is to first take complete stock of the situation at hand, form a body comprising of competent and experienced officers and hand them over the task to chalk out a meaningful strategy to move in the right direction.

The ‘knee jerk’ reactions and snap checking is not going to resolve the core issue of enforcing effective policing. And he can start by setting an example in the federal capital, which is his domain.

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