The government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) does not seem committed to the promises of an influence-free bureaucracy. Like other unfulfilled promises, a bureaucracy without political influence will remain a dream as all indicators tell us so. Despite what Imran said to the bureaucracy “to report any political meddling in official working,” he eluded any comment on Pakpattan fiasco, or the similar ones following it

What Imran asks from the bureaucracy, what he preaches before civil servants, and what his party practices are in complete contradiction to the idea of a depoliticised administration. A few comments with ethos and pathos on depoliticisation cannot do the trick.

Imran and his party’s lacklustre response to complaints of bureaucrats who complained about political meddling in their functioning give no feel of “Naya Pakistan.” The recent meeting that Imran held with the Punjab cabinet reinforces the stance of the provincial administration – that complaints should only be filed with superiors and not with the media – which brings us back to square one.

We all are well aware of the fact that political interference in bureaucratic functions is a norm in Pakistan. One of the points that people praised Imran for was his commitment not to allow his party members to meddle in the affairs of bureaucracy unnecessarily. However, here too, the saying “it’s easy said than done” sounds true.

The much touted and publicised Whistle-blower Protection Act in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) that came into effect in 2016, it is to be noted, has still not been implemented to this day. Chiding the bureaucracy for the “unwarranted behaviour for complaining before media” is negating the spirit of the act mentioned before that revolves around the concept of “Public Interest Disclosure.”

While everyone wants to believe in Khan’s words, however, his actions and his party performance make people sceptic. Two years have been passed since PTI’s last provincial government in KP passed the conflict of interests and whistleblowing laws; even the proposed commissions under both laws are yet to be formed let alone the laws operating in full swing. The inability of PTI to make these laws work reveals PTI’s lack of commitment.

What is the point of adding more and more laws to the plethora of legislation if these pieces of the legislation see no implementation? Furthermore, Imran’s threat of instigating disciplinary action will discourage the public office holders from bringing anything they deem illegal even before their bosses. True de-politicisation of bureaucracy can only become a reality if Imran takes action on the complaints of the two deputy commissioners. Merely repeating “de-politicisation of bureaucracy” before civil servants cannot make public administration efficient.