ISLAMABAD - Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s top bureaucrats are planning to flee the province in fear of being accused of corruption by the Ehtesab Commission, senior officials told The Nation.

The Commission’s inquiry and its draconian powers have caused terror among the province’s senior officials and brought the machinery of government to a standstill.

Finance bills, procurement and purchase orders, and tender documents for government projects have been frozen because officials fear they will come under suspicion if they sign them, the official maintained.

On one hand the Ehtesab Commission is becoming a ray of hope for the common man in KP but on the other hand it has created anxiety among the bureaucracy and politicians as everyone thinking that they may be the next target, the official said.

In August this year, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly passed the amended Ehtesab Commission Act and barred all courts from granting bail to the suspects held under the law.

“All offences under this (Ehtesab Commission) Act shall be non-bailable and no court shall have jurisdiction to grant bail to any person accused of an offence under this Act,” said Section 23 (II) (3) of the Ehtesab Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2015.

“At least five top bureaucrats from the Federal Civil Service are looking for their departure from the province, while dozen others from the provincial civil service are planning to take long leaves,” the official maintained.

”These top bureaucrats are ready to work anywhere except KP,” the source claimed.

“They are even ready to work on less lucrative posts as compared to their present positions but are trying to avoid the embarrassment they might face in case of their arrest,” the official commented.

The Ehtesab Commission is embarrassing the bureaucratic community and has made several arrests prior to investigation but failed to bring proofs against anybody, the official alleges.

“The bureaucrats are afraid that if the Commission arrests them prior to any investigation and failed to prove the charges how they will face their families, friends and the society,” he said.

“PTI Chief Imran Khan’s attempt to allay the fear of the provincial bureaucracy didn’t work and top bureaucrats are still planning to leave the province,” the source informed.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan on the request of the KP Chief Minister visited KP to allay the fear of the bureaucrats.

“Bureaucracy should not fear Ehtesab Commission, we will protect them with a check and balance system, he added.”

The Commission would go after the corrupt only,” PTI’s chief said while addressing a Press conference in Peshawar last month.

The Ehtesab Commission is not in the control of the provincial government and its functioning has also made the Chief Minister KP nervous as he has to run the affairs of the province, the official said.

“I know the Chief Minister KP, Pervez Khattak, for the last two decades and I have never seen him angry but now, because of the activities of the Ehtesab Commission,” the official maintained. “Not everyone in the provincial establishment is corrupt but the actions of the Ehtesab Commission have created a sense of insecurity and anxiety among all,” the official said.

“Nobody is afraid of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) but all of them is scared of Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission and every government official is reluctant to sign a petty document fearing they might face the wrath of the Commission,” the official informed.

The government officials are reluctant to sign government documents fearing accountability.

Resultantly the Finance Ministry is not releasing the much-required funds for the developmental projects in the province and thus hampering the smooth functioning of the provincial government.

“From Secretary down to the Section Officer nobody is ready to sign the documents related to financial matters,” the source added.