There is an old saying that governments come and go but bureaucracy stays on as a permanent fixture. But in recent vintage what we are made to see is exactly opposite to this established norm. What we witness more these days is the comings and goings of the bureaucrats, taking most of the brunt of the recent political polarization in the country. Hundreds of officers appointed by the Governor got their marching orders in the last couple of days. In the process of these bureaucratic reshuffles and counter-reshuffles impartiality which once used to be the hallmark of the civil servants, has been replaced with a quest for personal loyalties. On his restoration Shahbaz Sharif with one stroke of pen got his administrative team back in action resulting again in a huge displacement of bureaucrats. It is the same team which he put together soon after taking over as Punjab Chief Minister in the aftermath of February election in Pakistan. Then Shahbaz Sharif, more under the shadow of Ch Pervaiz Elahi, was in hurry to dismantle everything associated with his predecessor including the bureaucrats that served him. Shahbaz then found it difficult in completing his administrative team. We observed then many administrative secretaries being changed one after the other within a very short span of time for not coming up to the expectations of their political boss. Besides many secretaries' slot remained vacant, if we do not consider the vacant slots in the cabinet. Most senior officers working in the Punjab opted to leave the province with the advent of Sharifs in the Punjab. It was a time when Establishment was struggling to find suitable people ready to serve in the province. These were the very officers who before that loved to work in the province for its conducive atmosphere for the bureaucrats and used to make every effort to stay on. The situation it seems hardly improved or reversed when the dust is settling after a long-drawn political uncertainty. Then came another phase for the bureaucracy just when Shahbaz was settling down. The Sharifs were disqualified, and Governor's rule was imposed. With Governor calling the shots, we witnessed again a massive administrative reshuffle. An array of new faces came to the province to fill the top positions in the Punjab government. The governor made sure that he got rid of the officers loyal to Shahbaz. Again, hundreds of officers got displaced. But this phase turned out to be quite short-lived, though quite nightmarish for the new gentlemen taking charge of mainstream positions including those who took over the coveted positions through some manipulation. In this shortest stint bureaucrats remained clueless as to the outcome of the political wrangling between the PPP and PML (N) with PML (Q) too chipping in. These three phases and administrative changes being made in-between played havoc with the institution of civil service known for its impartiality and federal outlook. Here in the Punjab we observe the personal loyalty the name of the new game. If you are loyal and known to the CM or CS then things are rosy, If not good luck to you. The main causality in these massive reshuffles has been those officers who joined the Punjab in pursuit of their career. They were honest and dedicated officers with no concern whosoever is in the saddles. The precedence to loyalty instead merit has unfortunately divided the bureaucracy into two irreconcilable groups. So much so that some officers have already been marked for their political affiliation for all times to come. This is a dangerous trend. This watertight compartmentalization in bureaucracy is not good for the federation. We learnt that in the midst of this grouping some officers when attended meetings abroad presented their case as if Punjab was outside Pakistan. The institutional interests of the bureaucracy and that of even political leadership require that this trend should be reversed and create a conducive atmosphere for the officers to work. Without creating a right working conditions it is not possible to develop good officers required for the country's development. If the government starts pick and chose then who will mind the careers of the officers without which an efficient administration neutral and committed to good governance is impossible to create. For a political leadership too without an intelligent and innovative administrative team it is difficult to find the solutions to the public problems or making right priorities. E-mail: