LAHORE The Punjab government, over the last two years, has set aside the rules and procedures to reemploy more than 100 retired officers on hefty pays and perks. The hired are mostly considered to be favourites of the PML-N leadership. The Supreme Court (SC) took notice of the situation after quite a large number of appointments were made in the media team of the Chief Minister in addition to a brigade of advisers and consultants. The slogans of good governance and transparency aside, the PML-N bigwigs have averred that their government actualised 'hiring best-of-the-best policy to serve the masses. Market value, brimming talent, integrity and professional excellence are projected to be the key parameters, as the provincial government rebuts as 'pack of lies all allegations levelled against these officers. Punjab spokesperson Senator Pervaiz Rasheed only mentioned lately that a review committee, headed by Senior Adviser to CM, Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khosa, has been constituted to re-examine all such cases. Initially, the 'very chosen bureaucrats chose to stay mum. Majority still stays that way. A few, nonetheless, are of the view that the appointments were made against rules, which dampened the spirits and hampered the careers of the serving officers. They mention that under section 13(1) of the Punjab Civil Servants Act, 1974, a retired government servant is ineligible for appointment either on a regular or on a contractual basis. Secondly, as per the Punjab Civil Service Act, all posts should be advertised in at least two leading newspapers, which was rarely done. However, these appointments had been made under the Reemployment Policy, which states that a retired civil servant should not be reemployed unless it is necessary in the public interest. In this regard, the appointing authority is the governor, who must act with the prior approval of the authority next to the appointing person. Moreover, the service rules read, The Chief Minister may, for special reasons to be recorded in writing, relax any of the rules in any individual case of hardship to the extent prescribed by him. This has been deemed as tangible enough a 'pretext to induct the retired or others. Even in the policy of nouveau recruitments in the government sector, preference was given to a group belonging to the incumbent rulers faves despite the fact that on April 10, 2008, with just one stroke of pen, around 3,500 reemployed after retirement were sent home. Then, it was announced that no retired would be reemployed. Anonymity-seeking incumbent officers, while reasoning out these appointments, are of the considered opinion that the reemployment of these superannuated gentlemen depended more on the pulls and pushes of the powers-that-be rather than their indispensability in public interest. The extension periods invariably extended from one to five years, in some cases in excess. The government appointed former Sindh IGP Rana Maqbool Ahmed as Secretary Public Prosecution Department, who is quoted to be an absconder in Musharrafs plane hijacking case. Similarly, the appointment of court-martialled General (r) Ziauddin as Chairman CMIT previously known as General Butt raised many questions. Another example is appointment of former secretary Punjab Assembly Abul Hasan Najmi as secretary law when the CM relaxed rules for his upper age limit of 66 years. As per sources, a summary of various allegations, including making money by abusing his official authority, is pending with the CMIT. DG ACE Kazim Ali Malik, a removed judge of the Lahore High Court, is another beneficiary of the CMs order of relaxation of the contract policy. Nazar Chohans appointment as Chairman Liquidation Board Punjab and Privatisation Board is interesting since an inquiry is pending against him. The government had also allowed Justice (r) Ijaz Nisar to continue as Chairman Punjab Elections Authority, and he had been enjoying this post with no work at his disposal from 2002 to 2010. The appointment of Rauf Hasan the elder brother of Secretary Health Fawad Hassan Fawad as Director General Public Relations, and now ex had its own weird reaction, by the Information Department in particular. Colonel (r) Ehsan-ur-Rehman was appointed as additional IGP Special Branch, causing concerns among the police officers. The Ombudsman Punjab is said to be having 23 consultants or special advisers. As per rules, the Punjab Service Tribunal and the Punjab Public Service Commission must have half members from the serving officials, but it is not the case since all have been appointed on contracts. The tribunal comprises Talat Mehmood Tariq, Syed Muhammad Hamid Shah, Zafar Iqbal, Ayub Malik, Riaz Chaudhry and Rai Ejaz Ali Malik, while 16-member PPSC has all retired on its benches, which include Shaukat Javed, Ahmad Nasim, Azhar Hasan Nadeem, Fayyaz Bashir, Pervaiz Rathore, Safdar Javaid Syed, Zia-ur-Rehman, Iftikhar Ahmad, Ghias-ud-Din and Humayun Farshori. An ex-DMG officer, Tariq Ayub, is Director General Punjab Institute of Languages and Culture. Former Secretary Information Shoaib-bin-Aziz once pronounced 'naive unfaithful was appointed as Press Secretary to the CM. The list is certainly pretty long, and continuing. After three years, now the incumbent officers afford the luxury of putting the onus of bureaucracys poor performance on favouritism, weak and obscure accountability mechanisms and structure. Now it is unresponsive to peoples needs. The big network of government agencies, especially provincial anti-corruption establishment, public prosecution and even the ombudsmen set-ups, have not proved their worth because everywhere the government has inducted its favourites whose only job was to keep hands off the state functionaries and chase the 'unwanted elements. Officers are of the opinion that in the preceding three years, the bureaucratic sycophancy revealed to the maximum when it lionised the CM to violate all the rules of business to achieve fame and glory as the powerful chief executive of the province. In the end it has proved to be a bane. Consequently, only a few of former CMs bureaucratic faves survived and started running around to find new holes in the new set-up, and only a handful 'worthy stayed put. During the initial days of the present dispensation, the bureaucratic policy was to purge the pro-Chaudhry officialdom and clear the muddle left by the former rulers, but it proved to be equally devoid of maturity and wisdom. Even, before being formally installed as the rulers-apparent, the political bigwigs seemed to be in big hurry to install their favourites at top slots, which created uncalled for panic among the serving bureaucrats, both good and bad ones. Interestingly, those were deciding others fate whose own depended on the personal likes and dislikes. Ultimately, it is the good lot that suffered the most in such flawed approach because they are in the bad books of the imported stuff that brought their downfall in the past. Being a favourite is the must, whether he can do the job efficiently or otherwise, has no relevance, opined a senior officer.