Home News Analysis PTI demands ECP to scrutinize politically motivated transfers in last-weeks of PML-N...

PTI demands ECP to scrutinize politically motivated transfers in last-weeks of PML-N tenure

politically

News Analysis |

Pakistan Tehrek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday accused the former Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government of making shady appointments in last weeks of its tenure to rig the upcoming July 25 polls. PTI asked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to remain more vigilant and address the negative repercussions of last-ditch transfers/appointments.

PTI’s secretary information Fawad Chaudhary has written to the chief election commissioner (CEC) Justice (retired) Sardar Muhammad Raza to scrutinize the appointments which can compromise and adversely affect the fairness and the credibility of the upcoming elections.

PTI which looks favorite to upset the PML-N in Punjab has informed ECP of officials appointed who can potentially tilt the election results in PML-N’s favor. It questioned ECP’s inaction over the appointment of these individuals. On May 29, PTI had already questioned the appointment of Asma Hamid as the advocate general of Punjab. She is known to have close ties with Sharif family.

PTI is aware of PML-N’s dominant position in the bureaucratic setup. This is why the party is challenging PML-N’s unfair advantage which can prove decisive in the end, especially at places where the battle is too close to call the winner.

Fawad alleged that taking advantage of ECP’s slumber over the issues, former CM Punjab Shehbaz Sharif and the former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan made key appointments which can potentially compromise the elections.

Read more: PTI files petition in ECP seeking explanation from PM’s horse-trading allegations

ECP’s Nullifies post-May 31 Appointments

On Monday [June 04] ECP’s order nullified all the postings and promotions after the issuance of election program. It included the transfers after May 31-which was the last day of the PML-N government. Since, ECP also issued the election program on the same date, which makes the postings void.

But PTI in its presser demanded ECP scrutinize the appointments which government made in last two week of its tenure. Fawad said that party had written a letter to the secretary establishment seeking the details of the appointments made in grade 21 and 22 by the federal government in last two weeks of the PML-N tenure.

According to Sections 5 (4), “after the Election Programme has been issued and till the publication of the names of the returned candidates in the official Gazette, any Government or authority shall not post or transfer any official appointed or deputed in connection with an election without prior approval in writing of the Commission, including posting or transfer the decision in respect whereof has not been implemented, and the Commission may itself issue necessary directions to any such Government or authority for the posting or transfer of any official”.

Fawad alleged that taking advantage of ECP’s slumber over the issues, former CM Punjab Shehbaz Sharif and the former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan made key appointments which can potentially compromise the elections.

Since ECP issued election program on May 31, it may not pay heed to PTI’s demand to scrutinize appointments in last weeks of PML-N government. However, a caretaker government is strongly prohibited from any such appointment which may compromise fairness in elections.

According to 230 (2) (f) and (g), caretaker government must ensure that it only “transfer public officials unless it is considered expedient” and [that too] after approval of the Commission; and [any] attempt to influence the elections or do or cause to be done anything which may, in any manner, influence or adversely affect the free and fair elections.”

The upcoming polls are scheduled for July 25 and many bureaucrats which are considered close to the PML-N were posted to important positions, apparently to get the desired results in the general elections.

Read more: ECP vs Khan: PTI submits its financial records of the last…

Reshuffle after Caretaker setup took Charge

After the oath-taking ceremony of Justice Nasir ul Malik as caretaker Prime Minister, a major reshuffle in the cabinet took place. Fawad Hassan Fawad, Secretary to PM and a blue-eyed boy of PML-N who also acted as de facto PM under the premiership of Nawaz Sharif was removed from his position and posted as Director General Civil Services Academy. Sohail Aamir, a BS-22 officer of Secretariat Group replaced him as a secretary to PM.

Fawad has been under National Accountability’s radar over corruption charges which he denies. Fawad’s transfer to Lahore may solve the traveling issues and make it easier for him to appear before the court but the purpose of this slot was not this. Since he has a close association with Sharif’s, he was allegedly transferred to control the Punjab based bureaucracy on behest of Sharifs.

In other high profile transfers, Syed Abu Ahmed Akif was transferred as Cabinet Division secretary and Dr. Kazim Niaz as additional secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office. Moreover, Joint Secretary Hassan Baig was posted as Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) director general (DG) and Kamran Ali Afzal has been posted to Finance Division.

The upcoming polls are scheduled for July 25 and many bureaucrats which are considered close to the PML-N were posted to important positions, apparently to get the desired results in the general elections.

The appointment of Dr. Kazim Niaz in particular raised eyebrows because the officer in question had already served as joint secretary in PM office under Fawad Hasan Fawad. Significantly, Fawad Hassan Fawad’s batch mate and a BS-22 officer of PAS, Maroof Afzal who had been appointed as an Establishment Division Secretary were retained in the position. ECP has taken the timely action to consider these appointments void. These appointments seriously question the impartiality promised under the interim setup.

Read more: ECP nullifies postings which allegedly favored PML-N

In Bureaucratic Transfers, PML-N’s Dodgy Past and Shady Present

After coming to government in 2013, in one of his first decision as PM, in June 2013, Nawaz Sharif appointed Fawad as the Additional Secretary to the Prime Minister. Bureaucrats from Punjab appear to have a stranglehold on the Prime Minister’s Secretariat in PML-N’s tenure and the situation has apparently remained the same. Only handful of the bureaucrats served in the federal capital who belonged to Sindh. Bureaucrats hailing from Punjab have kept almost all the BPA-20 or above posts.

In 2013, despite the major reshuffle in Punjab’s bureaucracy, six influential secretaries of the PML-N led Punjab government kept their role in controversial 2013 polls. It is one of the reasons that PML-N wanted to ensure early elections because it can use its dominant position in the bureaucracy to affect the elections. PTI is aware of PML-N’s dominant position in the bureaucratic setup.

This is why the party is challenging PML-N’s unfair advantage which can prove decisive in the end, especially at places where the battle is too close to call the winner. It does not matter how honest and professional an official is, a level playing field should be provided to all the political parties and the old blessed [lords] should be replaced to ensure free and fair elections.


LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.