The Punjab government, while claiming transparency and merit, has offered hefty financial packages to handpicked retired and in-service officers for their services in public affairs without any justification. This act has created a sense of resentment among the competent officers as the hiring of the retired is barring their promotion/postings on key slots and offering huge financial benefits to cronies are depressing them financially. According to documents obtained from the civil secretariat by Truth Tracker (TT), the army of retired officers is getting millions from public kitty, which does not correlate with the contribution they make in governance affairs.
The TT acquired document stated that the Punjab government re-employed around 25 retired bureaucrats offering them Management Professional scales in different departments, authorities and government entities. Out of these men, two are above 72 and three are 65 year of age. The policy deals with re-employment of retired officials “Re-employment Policy 2003 and hiring on contract “Contract Policy 2004 strictly bar hiring of men above 63 year of age, reads a document. All had been offered packages under monetization policy but are using official cars, drivers and petrol as well.
Some of the prominent are Dr. Syed Abul Hassan Najmee, Shoaib bin Aziz, Sabtain Fazal Haleem, Tariq Ayub, Ahmed Raza Tahir, Kamran Lashari, Ahtasham Anwer, Mazhar Hussain Minhas, Dr. Ashraf Tahir, Dr. Muhammad Sarwar and Dr. Muhammad Amjad.
Punjab government established Forensic Science Agency in 2009 to contribute in criminal justice system by providing forensic data for investigation and prosecution. Dr Ashraf Tahir was initially hired as consultant in 2009 and later became Director General in 2011. He was offered a package of Rs.1.2 million. Tahir is now 70 plus years of age.
Shoaib bin Aziz who retired from government job in October 2010 is now working as press secretary to chief minister Punjab on contract. Aziz is getting 0.5 million per month in addition to staff car with driver, unlimited petrol and official protocol.
Sabtain Fazal Haleem a retired District Management Group officer (now Pakistan Administrative Service, PAS) was retired in March 2011 after attaining superannuation of age. The government hired his services as Managing Director, Mass Transit Authority and he is getting 0.5 million package form public kitty. He is considered master for the construction of roads for buses even during his regular service he did the same nature of job. Muhammad Tariq Ayub a PAS officer who retired in June 2012 is now heading Punjab Privatization Board on contract. He has been offered 0.5 million from public kitty. It is evident that no visible privatization of public assets has been made since he joined the board.
Kamran Lashari a PAS officer who retired in December 2012 is on contract as Director General Walled City of Lahore Authority and getting Rs.0.5 million in addition to official car, unlimited petrol and medical.
All three members of Punjab Information Commission including Mazhar Hussain Minhas, Ahmed Raza Tahir and Mukhtar Ahmed are on contract on MP scales.
The offering of hefty perks and privileges to the select few officers is discrimination from all scope. It invites heartburning among the competent, honest and hardworking officers, who have no say in political power corridors, says a PMS Officer requesting anonymity. The hiring of retired men above 63 is not only violation of government concerned polices but also block promotion avenues of eligible officers in different cadres, he maintained. Both steps are neither acceptable nor affordable in smooth functioning of governance and its enforcement. It is not possible that all bureaucrats use full energies when they are not treated on equal financial incentives and civic facilities. Ultimately, public will suffer, he reiterated.
The obliging of in-service senior and junior officers is also going unchecked as during the last week of January, the Punjab government has extended special monetary benefits to Chief Secretary (CS) Punjab Captain (retired) Zahid Saeed and Inspector General of Police Mushtaq Ahmed Sukhara. The government granted a special executive allowance Rs.400, 000 to CS and Rs.380, 000 to IG per month to help them out in financial constraints to lead a respectful life, say a document with TT.
The special allowance is in addition to emoluments they are receiving from public kitty for their services. The grant of special executive allowance to Chief Secretary Punjab and Inspector General of Police became the talk of the town as an extraordinary financial support to any senior serving officer. General public is of the views that current year is an electioneering one and heads of both civil and police bureaucracy are accommodated to get their sincere support in upcoming polls. The senior officers have already being offered massive facilities from public funds, i.e., fully furnished residences, utility bills, transport, fuel, security and other paraphernalia, including an army of servants.
A senior official of finance department (custodian of public coffer) says a summary was sent to chief minister for approval of special executive allowance to CS and IG because it was an extraordinary benefit to be offered. After approval, the finance department notified provision of allowance to both heads, he remarks. The finance department has not opposed it despite the fact it was not justified under any financial discipline and rule, he says.
The decision to grant hefty superior executive allowance has sparked a heated debate in the bureaucratic hierarchy and some of them have expressed heavy resentment and annoyance as well. The government has already offered lucrative incentives to some junior civil servants serving in authorities, projects, commissions and companies, which have created resentment among competent civil servants serving in their mainstream careers, they add.
Ahad Cheema a DMG officer in BS-19 and Rashid Mehmood Langryal a BS-20 are working in energy sector and getting Rs.1.6 and Rs.1.2 million respectively. Secretary finance Hamid Yaqub Sheikh makes around Rs.1.0 million as a regular incumbent in BS-20.
The neglected officers say that they feel demoralization and victimization. It seems, the Punjab government is running government affairs like a private company as they are being offered a huge package whereas an administrative secretary is getting Rs.120, 000 per month according to his scale, another senior officer says. To justify special allowance, the government has to offer same financial benefits to administrative secretaries, divisional commissioners, deputy commissioners, director generals and additional secretaries as they have to deal with massive workload and huge responsibilities in implementation of government writ, he maintains.
In the past such allowances had been offered to professionals like professors, engineers, scientists and doctors (not regular public servants) with the aim to enable them for focus on tasks assigned without eyeing on more avenues, says documents with TT. In the recent past, a special allowance of Rs. 400,000 per month is paid to Information Technology University’s (ITU) Umar Saif, Rs.200, 000 to Government College University’s (GCU) Muhammad Khaleequr Rehman and Rs150, 000 to Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) Rawalpindi. The allowances are in addition to regular salaries, transport and medical facilities admissible to grade 22 officers, the documents reads. Saif had been given the allowance for promoting e-governance and e-learning and introducing the Punjab Model of Proactive Governance – a mechanism through which the government evaluates and accounts for its performance by reaching out to citizens.
Saif is also chairman of the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB). He has been heading the PITB since 2011 and is the founding VC of the ITU. GCU’s Rehman has been given a special allowance for introducing entry tests for admission to engineering and medical and dental colleges. A special allowance for promoting “civic engagement” at the FJWU has been offered to principal, the documents add.
Senior economist Professor Muhammad Shakeel says offering of huge allowance to a few officers is discrimination among the regular public servants. The pay and allowance of regular servants depend on ranks/scales and offering of special incentive will promote deprivation among the colleagues. It may also encourage corruption among the deprived cadre, he says. The hiring of retired officers in violation of concern policies will hurt the promotion and posting of regular officers on key slots in administrative hierarchy, he maintains.
Former IG Punjab Tariq Saleem says in the past such allowances were offered under police reforms to police officers but not of such volume. Discrimination definitely hurts some, he adds.
Truth Tracker contacted Punjab government spokesperson Malik Muhammad Ahmed and provincial minister Zaeem Qadari repeatedly for government viewpoint but they avoided answering or even to respond to the text messages.