LAHORE - The recent rotation policy for civil servants and police officers has caused a friction within the provinces, and raised many eyebrows within quarters concerned, who have urged for revising the policy in line with Indian Administrative Service enjoying worldwide recognition.

On August 13 last year, the then prime minister approved a new policy for postings & transfers of officers in All-Pakistan Unified Groups (APUG) to the government of Balochistan in order to strengthen the province.

If we examine this policy pragmatically, it spells out whosoever ill-connected has to go to Balochistan; it is irrelevant if one has a domicile for Balochistan and has completed three years in Balochistan or remained posted to Balochistan for less than three years or never served in that province.

Basically, such rotation policies suit politicians, since they want officers to remain in the state of “migration” and subservient to their plans. They intentionally keep the sword of rotation hanging over officers’ heads.

Insiders claimed that the rationale behind the rotation policies for APUG officers had always been aimed at developing national integration, giving a broader exposure for future policy/planning making slots and make these officers neutral dispenser at the federal/provincial governments.

Insiders claimed that the Establishment Division had issued at least 12 policies on this account till 2013. The implementation of these policies remained lackadaisical during the democratic and military regimes.

During July 2000, the military-dominated government issued a comprehensive policy and shifted over-stayed APUG stalwarts to other provinces and the federal government. But despite all these efforts there remained some exceptions.

Suddenly, before the presidential referendum, all the rotated officers came back to their domicile provinces just after six months. The rotation policy applicability started on the principle of “least rotated-first transferred” and ended up on the most rotated-first transferred.

The rotation policy for APUG officers among the federating units and federal government has a chequered history since the creation of Pakistan. Postings/transfers drill used to be completed at least six months before the actual transfer. This order was because the carrier management of these officers used to be done by the secretary of state for India in council (in India). The transfer drill is undertaken through a number of notifications including a letter from the office of the secretary of state in council intimating the officer about “posting/transfer” - posting alarm, another order to inculcate about the children education and other obligations to be completed before transfer, another letter informing the officer about the likely three/four posts for future choice, issuance of transfer orders with one month margin, movement orders for both the officers and handing over and taking over charges at “no man’s land”, so that there should be no two officers in the same district or place.

They claimed that with such a magnificent departure and arrival of officers, they accustomed to be very hardworking, accessible, efficient, impartial, honest and apolitical in the dispensation of justice, maintenance of the writ of the government and observance of the rule of law.

At that time the salaries were highly satisfactory and an assistant commissioner, magistrate, assistant superintendent of police used to get Rs300 per month and after attending all the obligations he was capable to save Rs200 per month.

Posting/transfer in the provinces and the federal government is no more a routine matter. Establishment Division itself tells the officers to bring requisition letters from the ministries, divisions, secretaries, ministers and provinces for posting in the federal government and in the provinces; otherwise one has to remain an “OSD” (officer on special duty) in search of duty.

This is very disgusting and demoralising for the civil servants. They further say that rotation policies are also hit by “exigencies of services” by taking plea that an officer can be posted back to his domicile province or third province, or Gilgit-Baltistan or Azad Jammu & Kashmir or federal government.

Moreover, posting in Islamabad capital territory and abroad is also treated as service under the federal government (out of domicile province) posting in training institutions, corporations, and autonomous bodies located in the home domicile provinces are also considered out of domicile province service.

Therefore, literally an officer fulfills the condition of remaining “out of province” without leaving the domicile province even for a single day. Neither the federal government nor the provincial governments provide not to speak of entitled residences, do not even provide below entailment, due to shortage of accommodation and non-vacation of houses.

Transfers are done abruptly without taking into consideration the academic year of the officer’s children. Establishment Division at the federal level and services & general administration departments of the provinces never inform the officers about their likely movement not to speak of at least forty-five days in advance, as laid down in the 2000 rotation policy.

The stereotype logic behind the rotation policy that officers initially should not be posted in his domicile province in order to make them a neutral dispenser pressure resistant, fair and incorruptible is defeated due to the reason, incompatible pay, inflation, family obligations, non-availability of residence and posting in the hard areas make them vulnerable.

Nowadays Civil Service is highly politicised and spoiled; therefore, it is immaterial whether it is a domicile province or out of domicile province or federal government, pressure, partiality, injustice and involvement in politics remain constant.

If we look into the armed forces, the officers right from the passing out to the rank of three-star general are not posted at a place more than three years. They are posted to hard and soft places no matter how dear one is to the top brass. At hard places, they are more regimented and welfare oriented and get all basic needs.

Whenever they are posted to an operational area ie, Siachen, FATA, NA etc, they never stay more than one year. The carrier management of these officers is carried out by the military secretary branch in the GHQ, whereas, the carrier management in civil service is either done by the officer himself or by the political bosses.

“During, August 2003, Establishment Division clearly accepted that the government could not implement rotation policy in the past due to many political reasons”. If the government is not in a position to implement rotation policy due to multiple factors than there is no harm to review it.

The rotation/allocation policy for IAS (Indian Administrative Service) and IPS (Indian Police Service) is quite different from that in vogue in Pakistan. These officers after completing their four months foundational training and special training at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie and Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy, Hyderabad, are permanently allocated to their respective domicile states. They are known as IAS/IPS officers of that state cadre and retire from the allocated states after attaining superannuation.

The officers’ rotation remains between the central government and state of their allocation. If officers are not accommodated to their domicile states due to non-availability of seats, than the inside-outside ratio of officers who are posted to their home states is maintained at a ratio of two to one.

Although civil servants/administrators are supposed to be politically neutral un-biased honest, committed towards constitution, people, development and rule of law, but in actual practice, such things appear to be missing.

The concept of “Political Bureaucracy” spoils system in USA that ended in 1883 has emerged in Pakistan due to politicisation of the services. They do not believe in political neutrality. The administrators align themselves with political leaders in order to serve their vested interest.

They extend only such suggestion to the ministers and chief executives which are palatable to them. They do homework and twist law in such a way that political bosses are pleased and they go scot free in the case of an eventuality. They are always ready to remain close to the political masters at any cost so that they may remain in green pastures.

Inter-provincial rotation policies could not be implemented due to very short duration of policy operation that ranges from 2/3 years average, application of the policy due to vague language which can be twisted/interpreted in either side, reluctance of APUG officers in places/posts with unfavorable working conditions despite incentive packages, political and administrative pressures to seek exceptions, aversion/unwillingness to go to province where there is no safety to life and property, especially Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and no enforcement mechanism.

Instead of poor enforcement of rotation policies, it is better that APUG officers may not be rotated to other provinces especially at the beginning of their carrier, keeping in view the universal political interference, inadequate pay, high inflation, unaffordable utility bills and socio-cultural paradigms.

The practice of placement of IAS and IPS officers to the states of their domicile is going on in the neighbouring country, may be followed for the APUG officers in Pakistan. APUG service of Pakistan is the successor of the Indian Civil Service, Indian Police Service which were the most distinguished Civil Service in the world.

In case of non-availability of posts in the domicile province the APUG officers must be accommodated in the province of the choice of the officer.

It has proved that despite incentive packages for posting in Balochistan and Northern Areas including fixation of tenure of two-three years could not attract the officers to opt for these areas; why it should not be taken otherwise and officers should be retained in their domicile province from where they should ultimately retire in the best interest of the provincial autonomy.

At the most APUG officers may be rotated between the federal government and federating units on deputation with double pay and other compensation allowances and accommodations on the analogy of Indian IAS and IPS officers.

Sources claimed that the civil service had been politicized since long and there is no hesitation that junior officers are posted in own pay and scale on the pretext of young faces against important senior assignments. These prize posts are not given because they have any daunting service record, but because of their proximity with the top political boss.

Therefore, it is immaterial whether he is in any province, the political culture remains constant. The budding civil servants place the onus of this impoverished plight on their senior leadership which they characterize as stooge the higher you go the cooler it is.