Bureaucrats reject PM’s proposed civil service reforms body

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PESHAWAR: (DNA) – In a surprising turn of events, provincial bureaucrats have refused to cooperate with a task force created by the prime minister on reforming the civil services, stating that unless their issues were addressed, they would reject the committee’s proposed reforms.

The announcement came after former State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) governor Dr Ishrat Hussain, who is heading Prime Minister Imran Khan’s civil service reforms taskforce, met with representatives of the Provincial Civil Service (PCS) at the Civil Secretariat in Peshawar on Tuesday.

An association of PCS officers termed the meeting an “eyewash and a sham,” and announced that they will reject reforms which the task force may suggest to the civil services in Pakistan.

In a statement issued to media, the PCS Officers Association said that their representatives including Ghafoor Beg, Mutahir Zeb, Qaiser Khan and Fahad Ikram Qazi had attended the meeting where Dr Hussain explained his plan for reforming the civil service and restructuring the national and provincial executive service.

The PCS association said that their reservations of being ignored proved to be true with the entire reforms committee comprising only officers from the Pakistan Administrative Services (PAS) cadre.

Moreover, the association said that when the matter was raised in the meeting, Dr Hussain reportedly responded less than positively to it, noting that the issue can be resolved through a consultative process.

The rest of the meeting, they claimed, mostly pertained to the illegal and unconstitutional apportionment formula of 1993 —formula distributes seats among the PAS and PMS/PCS officers in the province — where the federal government had usurped slots in the provincial government.

He was further told that the province was suffering an administrative crisis with as many as 200 positions reserved for PAS officers lying vacant and promotions of hundreds of PCS officers were long overdue.

Moreover, the PCS officers questioned the legality of posting of PAS officers to provinces on provincial positions, especially after the 18thconstitutional amendment.

According to the PCS officers, Dr Hussain did not respond positively to these issues and stated that he did not consider them as issues of the civil service.

This sparked some fireworks in the meeting between the PCS officers and Dr Hussain but in vain.

The PCS officers stood their ground on the inclusion of PCS representatives in the committee and for ending the apportionment formula of 1993.

Afterwards, a meeting of the association was held to deliberate on the topics discussed and it was decided that the reforms committee must become more inclusive and should propose the annulment of apportionment formula of 1993 before proceeding further.

“Since Dr Hussain is biased towards the PAS cadre and not ready to consider the view of the 4,000 PCS/PMS (Provincial Management Services) officers across Pakistan, this association declares today’s consultation as a sham and believes that these reforms will be superficial and will have nothing concrete.”

Unless their demands were met, the PCS officers decided to reject all measures proposed as reforms by the committee and will agitate across Pakistan.

They said that their association in K-P is linked to all PCS/PMS associations across the country and the agitation would range across the country.

The PCS/PMS officers association has been protesting against the apportionment formula 1993 terming it as a major anomaly in the proposed civil services reforms and called for its annulment.

The association in K-P has been on pen-down strike over the past few years and only ended a few weeks ago when the chief minister intervened.