The fight over the CCPO

At the expense of an already sluggish bureaucracy and police force

Having different parties ruling in the Centre and Punjab is showing itself in quarrels over bureaucrats. Whereas the President and PM once clashed over the appointment of the Punjab Governor, the Shahbaz and Pervez governments clashed over the Chief Secretary, an issue resolved only when the federal nominee went on leave, and handed over charge to the provincial nominee. Now, the battle has descended to the squabble over the CCPO Lahore. The incumbent has been repatriated by the federal government, but the provincial government is not releasing him.

There has previously been a problem involving the CCPO Lahore, during the previous government, which deemed the CCPO so important that it transferred the IGP. The CCPO Lahore would be of vital importance because he is responsible for the policing of the provincial capital, which is also its largest city. However, Lahore is also important because the Prime Minister sits for a Lahore constituency, and while his predecessor sits for a Mianwali seat, he was brought up in Lahore. The icing on the cake is that the Chief Minister, while sitting for a Gujrat constituency, has always had a Lahore residence too. The whole business of keeping civil servants on tenterhooks only incentivizes doing nothing. Civil servants, already not inclined to work, were scared off by NAB, and now do not have the security of tenure that allows them to settle down to their task of easing the public’s difficulties.

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The laws and rules are meant to facilitate the federal and provincial governments in getting their work done, which is supposed to be the function of civil servants. The problem is that politicians have become inured to civil servants serving their political ends, and that is at the root of the current unseemly squabbling over who is posted where. If there is any legislation needed to create a more transparent process, and one which also irons out any lacunae, then both parties have majorities in the Centre and province, and should not hesitate.

Editorial
The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected]

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