A lot of questions are being asked about the government’s decision to appoint ‘experts’ from the private sector in high-ranking advisory capacities in all ministries. Given that the government has already been accused of going against the idea of a representative democracy and has appointed unelected individuals to decide important matters of the state, surely adding to this problem will only likely to lead to more grumbling in all quarters, both within the ministries and beyond.

The new experts will be handpicked by the government and will essentially take up leadership posts in all ministries, at the level of a grade-23 officer, and will also receive salaries at high private sector rates. Notwithstanding the fact the government is already attempting to trim down on staff in many government departments (the FBR and IRS for instance) and has looked to cut costs wherever possible, doesn’t hiring extra manpower at the highest possible cost go against everything the government has attempted to do in its time in power?

The Prime Minister’s election campaign was centred on ridding the country of corruption, but in the first opportunity of fixing the problem, he has gone out of his way to ignore the existing system, and provide new avenues for the accumulation of power and wealth. Members of the bureaucracy are concerned about losing their jobs, and through this step, they no longer have the incentive to work hard; what little power they once had will now be handed over to private individuals, simply because they were the government’s chosen favourites.

By looking to hire experts, the PTI government is essentially picking favourites in all sectors of the country, and these private individuals will be given money and inordinate amounts of power; whether the best interests of Pakistan will take centre stage or if some individuals will look to increase their own influence or wealth is an additional concern. Why is the government so insistent on giving so much power to technocrats? An advisory role in most cases is sufficient for them to apply for their expertise.

The fact remains that the government is looking to replicate an imperfect and problematic system. The Trump administration’s selection of its White House staff shows that the President is not above picking favourites; those appointed to protect net neutrality are the ones that stand to damage it the most, and those appointed to look at issues of climate change hail from the non-renewable energy sector. Vested interests do indeed play a part when private individuals with interests of their own are appointed to high-ranking posts within the government, and the ruling party will greatly damage the structure of government by following through on this decision.