—Urges civil servants to uphold merit, utilise freedom given by PTI govt
—Khan says strengthening local bodies most important agenda of his govt
LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday vowed to completely reform the governance system of Centre, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), with a prime focus on depoliticizing bureaucracy and strengthening of the local government system.
Addressing a gathering of civil servants in Lahore on his daylong visit, PM Khan said that new Pakistan meant a new mindset according to which the common man would be given protection against the influentials as they had been suffering in the past due to politicised police.
The prime minister assured that the civil servants would witness a visible change and there will be no political intervention in their working. He, however, sought their support to establish good governance in the country besides reviving the lost reputation of the bureaucracy in Pakistan.
“There is a dire need to fix the way the police works and to depoliticise bureaucracy. Merit needs to be brought in and laws need to be practised in letter and spirit,” he stressed.
In the address, he urged civil servants to value the freedom the PTI government will be providing them and not let it go to waste. He assured them that their work will not be interfered with and they will face “no pressure to engage in any wrongdoing whatsoever”.
Referring to the police, the prime minister said, “When the institution of police is politicised, it ceases to remain professional. When police start taking sides, people are no longer willing to place their trust in it.”
The task now, he explained, was to reverse this direction the nation had been steered towards. He called on civil servants to help him in this initiative.
Referring to the Pakpattan incident involving the transfer of DPO Rizwan Gondal, the premier said that he was hurt that a police officer and two bureaucrats publicised what should have been a matter that goes up their chain of command.
“Which government allows such a thing to take place? The IG should have been approached or the chief secretary,” the PM remarked, visibly irked as he further stressed the need for depoliticising the bureaucracy.
Issuing a final warning, the PM made clear that such politicisation of the state’s inner workings will never again be tolerated.
The premier urged the civil servants to serve the common people and have their doors open for them.
He said that nationwide complaint cells would also be introduced, including one in the PM House, where he will be regularly monitoring performance so that the government can respond in a timely manner to the people’s needs and bring an improvement in their lives.
“We will strengthen you and you will strengthen the nation,” the premier said.
During his address, PM Khan explained that he had not visited Saudi Arabia and UAE to beg any money it was rather to seek investments. However, he said that the investors always complained of red-tapism in Pakistan which also discouraged the overseas Pakistanis to invest their money in the country.
Improving governance will automatically make more investments come into the country, he said.
Furthermore, the prime minister said that improvement of the governance in the country and situation in the region could help take off Pakistan’s economy owing to its ideal strategic location with big markets like China, Iran, India and Central Asia in the surroundings.
STRENGTHENING LG SYSTEM:
The premier also chaired a meeting on local bodies system and directed for finalisation of the local government (LG) system within the next 48 hours, stressing that devolution of powers to the grass-roots level was the most important agenda of the PTI government.
“The objective behind this agenda is to empower the local people in the real sense,” he added.
Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar, Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman, Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry and senior leadership of the PTI were present during the meeting.
The prime minister observed that besides devolution of power at the grass-roots level, effective public accountability of the elected representatives would be ensured, adding the local government system would remove the status quo.
The devolution of powers and the local bodies system would help the new leadership rise, he noted.
The prime minister noted that parliamentarians in the past paid less attention to legislation and more on acquiring powers and funds. He added that the objective to introduce a new local bodies system is to break the status quo.
PM Khan also said that the new system would be rooted in the democratic norms in which governance and transparency would be ensured. The premier stressed upon introduction of a system in which the public representatives should be guarded against blackmailing at all levels so that they could fully concentrate their energies on public welfare.
Earlier, upon his arrival, he was briefed on the progress of the 100-day plan and the proposed local bodies system.
During his visit, the PM met Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar and Local Government Minister Aleem Khan.
The local government minister apprised the PM of the priority agendas of all departments for the 100-day plan.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led government on Sunday drafted a proposal for a new local government structure.
The draft is likely to introduce changes in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Centre in the first phase of implementation. Moreover, according to the draft, deputy mayors will be in charge of tehsils while the administrative charge of a district will be held by the mayor.
Furthermore, the federal government has proposed that the deputy mayors should be elected through polls.
Under the new local government structure, the mayor will be in charge of the police and administration. Monetary affairs pertaining to the district also fall under the mayor’s domain.
The federal government has also proposed that district governments are given charge of the police force, departments of health, education, and lower judiciary.
The draft suggests that the district governments enjoy complete autonomy from provincial chief ministers and ministers. It has also been proposed that the district governments are provided with complete financial independence.
ACTION AGAINST CORRUPTION:
Moreover, PM Khan directed the officers of the Punjab anti-corruption department to take indiscriminate action against corruption and expose the corrupt elements.
Chairing a meeting of the directors of the Punjab anti-corruption department, the prime minister said the government was prioritising the revival of public trust on government departments that had been undermined by the corruption.
The prime minister directed the anti-corruption department to improve its working and assured them of government’s all-out cooperation in their crackdown against corruption. He also directed the department to reform the prosecution system as he desired them to support the poor man who is oppressed everywhere.