In less than one month of taking charge as the Higher Education Minister, Syed Ali Raza Gilani is at loggerheads with department secretary and senior bureaucrat Capt ® Naseem Nawaz.
The game started over tiny issues like possession of the office for the HED minister Gilani who sources said wanted to sit in the office of the secretary. “There is a separate place for ministers in the Old Ministers Block” said an officer. The secretary office is located inside the Civil Secretariat where department secretary performs his official business, the office said adding “On the minister’s odd demand, a situation was erupted whose echo was heard in the chief secretary as well as the CM offices”.
“The minister wanted possession of the secretary office by all means that was denied” sources said. However, office of the Special Secretary (SS) Higher Education was handed over to the minister just to avoid further tug of war.
It was also learnt that the minister demanded separate offices at the DPI colleges and the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Lahore complexes.
HED Minister Raza Ali Gilani did not respond to call and text message on his cell phone seeking his comments. His staff officer Mian Azhar said that there was no tussle between the minister and the secretary. He also refused that the minister demanded possession of the secretary office. However, he confirmed that the minister was using Special Secretary HED office as his camp office. He said that the minister was waiting for allotment of office at the New Minister’s Block.
HED Secretary also could not be reached for comments. However, an officer of his office confirmed that the minister grabbed the Special Secretary’s office. He also said that the minister summons the secretary to his office to discuss issues from the procedural and the administrative to those related to policy matters.
A former HED secretary told this paper that it was against the Rules of Business to summon the secretary and to write word ‘speak’ on the files. He said that as the head of the department, the minister should instead write his observation. He can disagree with the administrative secretary and forward the summary to the CM, the ultimate authority.
A cabinet member whose portfolio was changed a couple of days back on anonymity said that the bureaucrats follow certain pattern of work and show certain rules suitable to their functioning to avoid the minister's directions. They usually use delaying tactics and avoid accommodating political bosses, the minister said. Whenever a hardworking minister takes over such officers try to resist first and when failed they move to other departments.
Talking about some cases he said that there was a tussle between the former minister Irrigation Yawar Zaman and former secretary Capt ® Saif Anjum. Both had differences on many issues. Many a time the minister refused to accommodate the demands of the minister who complained to the CM office. Later portfolios of the both were changed.
When the Secretary C&W took over as irrigation department secretary, he refused to visit the minister officer saying he was not working as personal capacity. He said that the minister should give his observation in black and white rather writing work ‘speak’.
A former secretary Punjab told that the same conflicting situation was reported in the Livestock and Dairy Development Department where differences were erupted between the Secretary Nasim Sadiq and the parliamentary secretary Arshad Jutt which created an untidy working environment in the department.
He said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Secretary Amjad Ali Khan in September this year was repatriated to Islamabad due to complaints of the provincial ministers. “He became victim of his reported inability to balance the recommendations and demands of Bani Gala Islamabad and the Chief Minister’s House Peshawar” the secretary added.
He quoted that a dispute between former Sindh CM Qaim Ali Shah and chief secretary Sajjad Saleem Hotiana was erupted when the chief secretary had refused to leave office until the federal government issues such orders.
He said that for good governance both the politicians and the baboos should be on the same page to resolve the peoples problems. He said that the CM Shabaz Sharif should take notice and define demarcation between the two. “Many DCOs and DPOs became victim of this tug of war as the MNAs and MPAs usually complain the CM office against the officers when they refuse to accommodate their illegal demands” the secretary pointed out. He said that there should be a monitoring mechanism to check such tussles.