LAHORE - Although the Supreme Court’s judgment on tenure protection for civil servants emerged as a blessing for bureaucracy yet the government servants are being humiliated at the hands of rulers and powerful politicians.

The abrupt and unlawful transfer of Faisalabad Regional Police Officer (RPO) on the recommendation of Punjab Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah, also the cousin of Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, is a case in point.

Last year, the civil bureaucracy’s iconic lady officer had put up an unprecedented fight to protect the government servants by filing constitutional petition (23/102) known as Anita Turab’s case, which is binding on all executive and judicial authorities under the command of the Constitution as embodied under Articles 189 and 190.

A three-member bench headed by Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry had passed the judgment and cemented the policy regarding premature transfers of civil servants.

The Supreme Court’s judgment on the matter of transfers and tenure, says that “the normal period of posting of a government servant at a station, according to Rule 21 of the Rules of Business is three years, which has to be followed in the ordinary circumstances, unless for reasons or exigencies of service a transfer before expiry of the said period becomes necessary in the opinion of the competent authority.”

“Furthermore, with regard to transfers of civil servants, this Court has stated that transfers by political figures which are capricious and are based on considerations not in the public interest are not legally sustainable. The petitioner had pleaded that unlawful political interference in the independent and legitimate functioning of civil servants (must) be stopped.”

Notwithstanding the clear-cut judgment of the country’s top judiciary, influential politicians and rulers are calling all the shots, no matter their actions are in sheer violation of the ruling of the SC.

The premature transfer of Regional Police Officer (RPO) Faisalabad, purely on political grounds, has again sent shockwaves in the provincial police hierarchy with many seniors getting frustrated over politicians’ interference in the police affairs.

The Punjab government issued a notification regarding transfers and postings of a few police officers on October 10, 2013. As per the notification, Ahmed Ishaq Jehangir, RPO Bahawalpur was transferred and posted as RPO Faisalabad whereas Mian Javed Islam was made officer on special duty (OSD).

Just three days later, the government again transferred DIG Ahmed Ishaq Jehangir and posted him as RPO Sargodha, thanks to the Faisalabad-based politician for pressing the Punjab Chief Minister to remove the officer, widely recognized as a dead-honest and seasoned bureaucrat in the Police Service of Pakistan.

Insiders revealed that Ahmed Ishaq Jehangir, soon after accepting the charge of his new office, ordered the Faisalabad police administration to submit the service records including performance-sheet of all station house officers (SHOs) to his office within three days. He also ordered the senior officers to pinpoint the SHOs and SDPOs given important postings on political recommendations.

After reviewing the crimes and law and order situation in-detail, the RPO was about to remove the incompetent and corruption-tainted officials from their place of postings when his office received a fax-message from the Punjab government. He was ordered to leave the post of RPO Faisalabad since has was posted as RPO Sargodha.

Some officers in Central Police Office say that the RPO Faisalabad was replaced on the recommendation of no other than the Punjab Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah. They say they believe Rana Sana also dared his cousin, Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who himself had passed the judgment against premature transfers.

According to officials familiar with the development, the RPO straightforwardly refused to extend ‘undue’ favours to some politicians regarding postings of policemen and investigation into criminal cases during his three-day long stay in Faisalabad.

In mid-March, over two dozen transfers ordered by the then prime minister on the last day of the government had angered the Supreme Court of Pakistan in the same way.

A three-member bench had directed the prime minister’s principal secretary to submit an explanation on why he conveyed verbal orders from the PM to transfer Capital Development Authority (CDA) Chairman Tahir Shahbaz on the last day of the government. Chief Justice Chaudhry had taken suo motu notice of the transfers and said it was against the spirit of an apex court judgment in a case filed by bureaucrat Anita Turab last November. The court had also stopped the federal government from implementing the transfer orders.

Many officers say they believe these are the trying times for the police and civil bureaucracy since the political meddling in the administrative affairs of almost all the departments has reached the appalling proportions.

Political interference has virtually barred the administrative authorities from applying their free minds in running the affairs of their respective departments. Similarly, issuance of posting orders against a particular post twice or in certain cases thrice a day or its immediate cancellation without any rhyme or reason is becoming an administrative norm.

The excessive political interference in the administrative affairs also badly affects the efficiency and performance of government functionaries.

During informal-chat, the police high-ups say the government must give freehand to the department to clean the mess in the police by taking to task the officers, who are found involved in malpractice and corruption. The department needs to appoint clean and dead-honest police officers as DPOs and SHOs to ensure justice at the grass-root level.

There will be no positive and visible change on the ground unless the political meddling in administrative affairs is stopped once and for all. The police needs to be purged from politics, better sooner than later. Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry must take up the matter involving his powerful relative to enhance the morale of the country’s largest law enforcing agency.