Pressure is mounting on the civil bureaucracy of the country as successive transfers, replacements and resignations are making it difficult for the government to implement their policies. The surprise resignation of Nasir Durrani, allegedly due to hurried removal of Inspector General Punjab Mohammad Tahir, shows the increasing dichotomy among the core team being prepared by the new government. The problem lies in the fact that this removal was not only a violation of the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) instruction to keep the appointees till the by-elections, but also there was no official justification provided for the move.

The only statement that came forth was the one by the Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry stating that the IG was not up to the mark and not following the directives of the government. However official removals require justifications and these directives that are being mentioned must be explained, otherwise this is just a violation of ECP’s law and no government is allowed that leverage. Several sources allege that the removal of the IG was because he refused to transfer certain DPO’s on the government’s command, and the resignation of head of police reforms commission - a person responsible for the much touted KP police reforms and quite popular in the new government’s circle - raises even more questions regarding the undue pressure on the police force.

Despite Imran Khan’s tall claims, interference in the Punjab bureaucracy continues unabated. Many instances of intervention have been reported since the beginning of the term and that has demotivated the service. Many also protested the removal of the IG because these ad-hoc decisions do not allow any stability in the flow of work. At the same time, the direct interference of the federal government in the matter also weakens the purpose of a depoliticised bureaucracy. The Director General (Elections) of the ECP, Chaudhry Nadeem Qasim, has also questioned the need to not follow orders and make changes to the bureaucracy.

While the ECP has reinstated the IG and demanded an explanation from the government, it is worth remembering the recent case of police IG AD Khwaja - the courts stopped the government from transferring the officer before his tenure was over – his precedent also applies here.

One major concern which comes out the aforementioned move is how progressive the thought process is which promises depoliticisation of the bureaucracy, however, implementing these policies requires time and understanding of the system in which this is in play.