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Crisis hits bureaucracy as litigation holds up promotions

LAHORE: A deepening human resource crisis has emerged in the country’s top administrative offices following the halt in promotions of federal government officers because of ongoing litigation regarding the Federal Selection Board’s controversial promotion formula.

According to official sources, the litigation, regarding promotions in BS-21, began some 18 months back. However, promotions to BS-18, 19 and 20, too, are now being delayed, they said.

Federal service groups including the customs, police, income tax and even the Pakistan Administrative Service (formerly DMG) — all directly related to the overall administrative control and law and order in the country — have been impacted by the delay.

At present, all provincial governments and the centre are running a majority of the posts on a “look after current charge and additional charge” basis in view of the unavailability of officers of the same rank. This involves giving additional work to officials, not allowing them to fully concentrate on their own basic duties, or handing work at senior posts to junior officials who do not have the requisite experience.

According to research conducted by Dawn, a sizeable number of federal government officials are now retiring at attaining superannuation without being able to utilise their past experience, which they could if promoted to senior ranks. The halt on promotions at the senior level spills down to the junior levels whose prospects for promotion, and hence a chance to obtain crucial working experience at mid-career top positions is now affected.

Elaborating on the subject, an official source says that the state was supposed to prepare officers to take on administration and policy-making duties from the lowest to the topmost posts in all sectors. This process starts in BS-17, where officials gain working knowledge of administrative stages and prepare for promotions and work on higher grades in due course of time. This enables them to handle their subjects at the topmost positions without any experience or knowledge gaps.

“This means that we will have senior officers devoid of the experience of making critical policy decisions, as captains of their sectors,” an official says.

As the majority of PAS and PSP (police) officials serve in Punjab, the situation is worse here than in the rest of the country. According to figures obtained from sources in the Punjab Services and General Administration Department, there are 72 BS-18 vacancies in the PAS, 56 vacancies in BS-19, 22 in BS-20 and five vacancies in BS-21.

The BS-21 vacancies include a Board of Revenue senior member, energy ACS, an inquiry member and two CMIT members. BS-20 vacancies include irrigation, food and information secretaries. The post of commissioner is a BS-20 post but a BS-19 official holds it in Rawalpindi.

The most troubled areas are BS-19 posts of finance and community development EDO. Half of them are vacant and junior officials are posted against the rest of them.

In the PSP (police department), 25 posts of BS-21 are lying vacant in the country. The vacancies cross 40 in BS-20. PSP officers like Nawaz Warriach, Dilawar Abbas and Rana Iqbal retired from service in BS-20 earlier this year because of the litigation against the selection board.

“It’s certainly the loss of a lifetime for an officer with an unblemished service record. Denying them promotions is like depriving the country of experienced hands at top posts,” an additional IGP says.

courtesy: dawn news

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