LAHORE - Although the caretaker government has changed a large number of officers in the province, junior field officers like assistant commissioners and tehsildars that may influence elections have not been transferred at all.

Moreover, district monitoring officers (DMOs) and SHOs on police side are still intact on their positions to the surprise of the political parties contesting elections.

The uneven reshuffle in senior bureaucracy to conduct fair and free elections has also raised many questions.

Unlike the 2013 bureaucratic changes, this time the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the Punjab caretaker government did the exercise of transfers and postings much late.

The selective transfers, postings and surrenders of officers have raised many eyebrows on the impartiality of the caretaker setup or their powers. At least, 25 senior Pakistan administrative officers (PAS), including secretaries, commissioners and DGs, have been reshuffled within the province.

The PAS officers that were reshuffled in the province include Secretary Industries Dr Mujtaba Piracha as Lahore commissioner, Literacy Secretary Dr Ismat Tahira as Management and Professional Development Department secretary, Women Development Secretary Bushra Aman as Tevta chairperson, Population Welfare Secretary Ambreen Raza as schools secretary, transport secretary Capt (r) Naseem Nawaz as home secretary, OSD Khaqan Babar as BOR member, Sargodha Commissioner Nadeem Mehboob as Zakat and Ushr secretary, Agriculture Secretary Muhammad Mehmood as livestock secretary, Irrigation Secretary Asadullah Khan as forest secretary, Zakat Secretary Hasan Iqbal as housing secretary, Forest Secretary Haroon-ur-Rafique as transport secretary, PRA member Capt (r) Zafar Iqbal as Sargodha commissioner, Bahawalpur Commissioner Saqib Zafar as specialized health Secretary, Ahmad Raza Sarwar of Punjab Cooperative Liquidation Board as secretary services, Sahiwal Commissioner Ali Buhadur Qazi as primary and secondary healthcare secretary, Small Industries Corporation MD Khalid Saleem as HED secretary, Multan Commissioner Bilal Butt as information secretary, Special Secretary to Governor Punjab Dr Wasif Khursheed as agriculture secretary, Shehryar Sultan as C&W ACS (Grade 22) and Child Protection Bureau DG Kiran Khursheed as cooperatives registrar.

Moreover, Special Secretary Housing Asadullah Faiz was posted as Gujranwala commissioner, Local Government Secretary Nadeem Irshad Kayani as Multan commissioner and Labour Secretary Dr Farah Masood as Sahiwal Commissioner while some others got postings in field formations.

Meanwhile, many officers posted as deputy commissioners in Punjab were transferred and posted as DCs in other districts. Khanewal DC Muzaffar Khan was posted as Sargodha DC, Jhang DC Mudassir Riaz Malik as Multan DC, MB Din DC Shaukat Ali as Jhang DC, Vehari DC Ali Akbar Bhatti as DG Khan DC, Bahawalnagar DC Azhar Hayat as Shaikhupura DC, Rajanpur DC Ashfaq Ahmad as Khanewal DC, Gujranwala DC Umar Jahangir as Rawalpindi DC and Pakpattan DC Mansoor Ahmad as Nankana Sahib DC.

Surprisingly, some officers who were facing severe charges have not been surrendered to the federal government and have been posted against more lucrative positions. Irrigation Secretary Capt (r) Asadullah Khan who has been facing charges in Multan Metro Bus Project as project director was posted as forest, wildlife and fisheries secretary, Agriculture Secretary Capt (r) Muhammad Mehmood facing charges in Nandipur Project was posted as livestock Secretary, Capt (r) Zafar Iqbal whom the CJP had removed from his posting as the Punjab Land Record Authority DG on harassment and other charges was posted as Sargodhacommissioner.

Moreover, some military officers, later inducted in the civil service like Capt (r) Akbar Hussain Durrani, succeeded in getting top positions as chief secretary, former Housing Secretary Capt (r) Khurram Agha managed prime posting as principal secretary to PM and Transport Secretary Capt (r) Naseem Nawaz as home secretary and Environment Secretary Capt (r) Saif Anjum as Rawalpindi commissioner.

Anti-Corruption Establishment DG Brig (r) Muzaffar Ranjha and IG Prisons Mirza Shahid Saleem Baig were not transferred. Both of the agencies may influence the elections.

A senior officer on anonymity said former Chief Secretary Capt (r) Zahid Saeed through his Staff Officer Masood Mukhtar managed many things, including preparation of lists for transfers. Delay in the transfer and posting of Chief Secretary Zahid Saeed and IGP Arif Nawaz also sparked criticism on the caretaker setup.

The provincial officers lauded the caretaker government’s move to repatriate officers who served in Punjab for long time like P&D Chairman Jehanzeb Khan, Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) S&GAD Omer Rasool, ACS C&W Mushtaq Ahmad, Secretary Services Farhan Aziz Khawaja, Senior Member Board of Revenue (SMBR) Muhammad Aslam Kamboh, Mines Secretary Dr Arshad Mahmood, CMIT Chairman Abdul Jabbar Shaheen, Lahore Commissioner Abdullah Sumbal, Rawalpindi Commissioner Nadeem Aslam Ch and former CM Office Secretary Ahmad Javed Qazi.

Certain upright officers not in good books of the previous government serving in the BOR, CMIT and members inquiries were again ignored by the caretaker government.

The officers demanded more transfers from the field formations to the secretariat to conduct free and fair elections.

When contacted, a cabinet member on anonymity said the government would soon make more transfers besides reversing the transfers made by outgoing government last hour.