A report in this paper has revealed that Punjab is facing a shortage of officers, as several positions in various departments are unfilled. Till January 10, no less than 140 posts of grade 18, and above were vacant or being run by acting heads.

Sources in the S&GAD disclosed that seven posts in grade-21, 31 posts in grade-20, 58 in grade-19 and 44 in grade-18 remain unoccupied in the provincial departments as well as the autonomous bodies. These include the posts of Additional Chief Secretary Energy, Commissioner DG Khan, Project Director Project Management Unit (PMU) - Punjab Irrigated-Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project (PIPIP), Project Director PMU on Computerization of the Land Revenue Record, Chief Economist P&D Board and several other key positions relating to departments across the board.

The Punjab government might want to look into this crisis if it wishes to live up to its claims of ‘good governance’, which are made far too frequently. With the absence of officers in key slots, one can only imagine how affairs are being managed in the province. If their deficiency is not being felt, then perhaps the slots in question should be completely eliminated from the hierarchy. Why waste taxpayer’s money and resources on redundant positions? But, if that is not the case, and competent officers are indeed required, then surely, rectification is in order.

Currently, the exercise of giving additional charge appears extremely popular in the province. In many places, secretaries are fulfilling the void, and setting new standards of superhuman multi-tasking. It makes perfect sense, if CM Shahbaz Sharif modus operandi is taken into account. No meetings of the provincial cabinet and vacant seats all over with secretaries taking additional charge, the grip on the entire system remains tight as ever. The pursuit of absolute control must not be given preference over the effective functioning of provincial affairs. Those in power, it appears, think otherwise.