LAHORE - The SRO 88 has amended The Civil Service of Pakistan (Composition and Cadre) Rules 1954, for the first time after August 1973, which is a landmark initiative to restore rule-based management of one of the two all Pakistan service institutions sanctified by the 1973 Constitution.

Sources said the CSP (now PAS) and the PSP are two basic pillars on which administrative relations of the federating units are founded under Part V of the Constitution. Explanation to Article 240, read with articles 146, 147, 193, 260, 268 and 275(1), sanctified their existence and protected rights of respective membership.

It’s a serious initiative to depoliticise the services being administered under a culture of coercive and feudal patronage, and carries something for everyone, sources say.

First and foremost, The SRO dismantled adhocism in computation of the posts reserved for promotion for every service before reporting to the relevant CSBs and was intended to harmonise management practices with law and a move towards discharging Section 9 (1) statutory obligations of the Civil Servants Act 1973 disregarded in material particulars since 1973.

It may be noted that in early 2013, the ad-hoc practices of piecemeal computation of promotion posts was impugned before the Supreme Court in Orya Maqbool Jan case decided in October last. The court quashed the promotions of 80 PAS officers from BPS 20 to 21 approved by the then government, with further directions to process such cases under rule-based objective criteria. Some 44 DMG officers have since been recommended for promotions by the CSB after the SRO.

The SRO finally notified the September 1993 IPC agreement for revival of the pre-1973 rule-based practice of encadrement of the PCS/PMS officers in the PAS, in line with the 1949 Covenants formulated under the leadership of Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan with specified post-sharing formulae. The PCS officers have long been expressing concerns due to unilateral severance of their service prospectus in August 1973.

The SRO restored the exclusive role of the FPSC in all initial appointments abandoned in August 1973 disregarding its statutory obligations under the FPSC Ordinance 1973/1977 as well as the 1949 contractual obligations of the federation articulated by the founding fathers. These had been sanctified by the successive constitutions in 1956, 1962, 1972 and 1973, being disregarded in material particulars since 1969.

The SRO excluded and demarcated a major share of superior secretariat posts for all services to bring an end to an anomaly whereby SRO 1237 of 21st August 1973 had exclusively allocated all superior posts under the federal government to the CSP, later DMG, and then PAS, but utilised randomly for whosoever. The government is now empowered to further apportion these posts, other than 30% posts earmarked for the PCS/PMS after due consultations, amongst various services under federal responsibility. Only PCS/PMS officers selected by provincial public service commissions, who actually served for 5 years, will be eligible for encadrement via FPSC. This will strengthen professionalism and avoid surprises via patronage.

The SRO formally notified the 2012 decision of the prime minister to change the nomenclature of DMG to PAS, after due consultation with the federating units. It thus removed an ex-facie discrimination in the naming of one of the two All-Pakistan Services, consistent with Ordinance III of 1984 whereby the use of the term “Grades” was abolished from the civil service-framework with effect from 1st July 1983.

Another important aspect of these rules is the induction of PCS officers into PAS, a much talked about issue of endearment of posts for them. This arrangement would also address legal questions and anomalies raised before the courts on the appointments of officers in the Federal Secretariat. As we might already know about the longstanding litigation going on in the SC between PCS against the PAS about the distribution of vacancies, the present SRO is intended to put to rest such avoidable litigation. The PCS sought revival for induction of PCS officer as per the original 1954 Cadre Rules that provided for induction only against 25% vacancies.

The 1993 IPC had approved that proposal, based on the recommendations of the Chief Secretaries Committee. The present SRO provides for 30% induction of PCS officers in BS-19 and that too through an open competitive process under FPSC.

It is important to fully comprehend the concept of encadrement before formulating opinions. Posts in the Federal Secretariat will be allocated to various services .The allocation for PAS is: DS (25%), JS (35%), AS (65%) and federal secretary (65%).The remaining posts will be allocated to other services fairly in addition to their departmental posts.

The above arrangement has 2 distinct advantages, the sources said, first of all, it is the pathway to orderly promotions against the vacant position to be determined after inclusion of additional vacancies of the Federal Secretariat in the departmental posts.

Secondly, the de-facto situation of posting of other services against secretariat vacancies would be rule-based.

As regards promotion to BS-20 and BS-21, 65% of the vacancies of joint secretaries (JS), and 100% of vacancies of Sr JSs have been reserved for other services, including the OMGs, they said.

In the wake of summary dismissals of senior civil officers in 1969 (303) and 1972 (1300) under martial law regulations that stunned the entire civil service machinery, a sizeable vacuum had been created in senior policy formulation and management positions in the Federal Secretariat. In 1973, by SRO 1237 on 21 August 1973, a general pool of senior federal government posts was notified for encadrement with the CSP. In practice, those posts were used for different groups, for advancing cronyism. Extensive resort was made in 72-77 to fill the gap via lateral entry and adhocism that nurtured a culture of patronage, bypassing Federal Public Service Commission. The FPSC never reported such violations to the President or the Parliament in its annual reports. After 5th July 1977, most persons continued service except those who voluntarily left. The SRO thus reaffirmed the government’s resolve to revive the FPSC role under rule of law in every sphere of public service management. It is now mandatory for the federal government/president to consult the FPSC before making appointments (and only) on the FPSC recommendations.