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Provincial service officers angry at CSS officers

In Punjab, 6 Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSPs) were ripped off their opportunities to become Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) to accommodate Central Superior Service (CSS) officers.

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The essence of federalism lies in the devolution of power from central government to provincial, and from provincial to district levels, and further in some democracies. This devolution is practiced in the political and administrative sectors of any country including Pakistan.

However, recently, in Pakistan provinces have been robbed of their authority to appoint and give higher ranks to the provincial cadres as the system favors the Pakistan Administrative Service over their provincial counterparts.

In March 2020, a legal change was brought under the DSP and SP promotion rules 2020, under section 6.2 of which the quota for the promotion of DSP to SP was brought to 40 percent.

This was done as PSP rules 1985 Section 7 stated the rules for promotion, stating, “Member of the police cadre of a province shall be appointed to the Service on the basis of selection made on the recommendation of the Governor provided that appointment of members of the police cadres of a province under this rules shall not exceed 40 % of the senior cadre posts in that province as specified in the schedule.”

Keeping this in mind, on 21st February 2021, 6 Superintendents of Police (SPs) ranked BS-18, who had already served for more than a year before they were reverted back to the Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSPs) with the rank (BS-17) upon the order of the Governor of Punjab.

Read more: Renaming CSS as CSP is all the govt has done to reform it?

It is worth mentioning here that the Governor of a province is a representative of the center, not the provincial administration, to which the provincial police majorly belongs.

This has resulted in an apt response from the provincial bureaucracy, with an increase in demands for provincial representation and a fair chance for their people.

Further underrepresentation

On 12th March 2021, the establishment division of Cabinet amended Rule 17 of the Civil Service of Pakistan (Compo­sition and Cadre) Rules 1954, changing the composition of provincial bureaucracy and increasing the number of posts of the Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) from 299 to 1,121.

Interestingly, the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet had directed “the establishment division to refer the matter to Dr Ishrat Hussain for addressing the grievances of the provincial officers according to the Constitution and merit” in March this year and sought a report in two months.

As per the statistics of the All Pakistan Provincial Civil Services Association (APPCSA), their total sanctioned posts in the four provinces stand at 5,513 — 2,038 in Punjab, 1,757 in Sindh 1,346 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 372 in Balochistan. The APPCSA claimed that sanctioned posts of PAS were 147, but the cadre held 1,947 posts.

It may be mentioned that the March 12 notification allocated four posts of chief secretaries in the four provinces for PAS, in addition to five posts of additional chief secretaries members of the Board of Revenue in Balochistan, 21 in Punjab, 16 in Sindh and 11 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

As far as the posts of division commissioners and administrative secretaries are concerned, the Centre took a total of 229 seats — 30 seats in Balochistan, 85 in Punjab, 67 in Sindh and 47 in KP. Likewise, it took 268 seats of the deputy commissioners — 25 in Balochistan, 117 in Punjab, 59 in Sindh and 67 in KP — and 318 seats of additional deputy commissioners — 26 in Balochistan, 155 in Punjab, 85 in Sindh and 52 in KP. Total 247 seats of assistant commissioners handed over to the federal bureaucrats included 21 in Balochistan, 65 in Punjab, 98 in Sindh and 63 in KP.

Read more: What’s wrong with CSS; understanding power dynamics

Public policy experts believe that the federal and provincial governments must address the grievances of the provincial cadres in order to give higher ranks to them which they deserve. Some experts suggest that the government should review the decision of reverting SPs to the posts of DSP. The decision has reportedly caused unrest among the provincial cadres.

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