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Mini-Secretariat a futile exercise of PTI government

JAVED IQBAL

LAHORE: The preparation to establish Mini Secretariat at Multan could not gain momentum as six out of fourteen departments failed to submit their demands, budgetary requirements and details of new seats.

According to sources, initially 15 departments would be set up in the Mini Secretariat at Multan or Bahawalpur where ever government would nod.

The departments that could not submit necessary details so far include Finance, Board of Revenue, Higher Education, School Education, Finance and Home. Others that forwarded required details include Services & General Administration, Agriculture, Live Stock and Dairy Development, Planning and Development, Communication and Works, Housing and Urban Development, Local Government, Primary and Secondary Health Care, Specialized Healthcare and Irrigation.

Sources further said that the S&GAD demanded 95 gazetted seats and 290 non-gazetted slots in the Southern Secretariat. It also submitted an estimate of Rs 730 m to run the general administration in the southern headquarters.

An officer stated that the preparations of the list of officers to be posted in the mini Secretariat, budget allocation and other formalities were underway. He clarified that all the matters like posting of officers and residences will be settled amicably.

Calling it an important leverage against PPP and PMLN, the officer asserted, it would be a landmark achievement of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government. Both the parties the PPP and PMLN could not do that despite repeated turns in power.

The former party could only raise sloganeering but later constituted a 54 member committee to look into the affairs of the southern Punjab province. But on ground there was no progress. The issue then became highly politicized as the ruling party didn’t want establishment of the new province in the Southern Punjab.
An officer of the Chief Minister Office on anonymity said that Buzdar government established a cell at the CM office to materialize PTI’s dream of facilitating southern Punjab people. He confessed that there would be problems in posting of officers and other ministerial staff in the mini-secretariat.
He said that without offering incentives and residences to the officers under transfer to Mini Secretariat it would be very hard to run the affairs. Moreover, he said that the government should also establish GOR in Multan for the residents of the officers.

An officer of the S&GAD said that the government would ensure that all the budgetary and administrative matters were resolved in the mini-secretariat. The offices should promote paperless culture so that service delivery could improve, he proposed.

Without administrative authority the mini-headquarter would further add to the miseries of people and officers and if the CM did not delegate his powers the suffering of people would multiply.

He further said that if an Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) is posted in the mini-secretariat as top officer he would be authority up to grade 17 officials only. The special secretary would be authority of officers of grade 18 officers. All other cases regarding transfers, postings, inquiries, promotions of grade 19 and above would be moved to the CM House through the Chief Secretary office.

The ACS should be given the authority to tackle officers of the administrative services. Likewise, the special secretary should be given all powers of the secretary. The CM should have posting authority with him of only administrative officers like Commissioners, DCs, RPOs, DPOs, he added.

He confessed that the CM office was doing all the functions that could be disposed off at the Civil Secretariat level. Without empowering the administrative secretaries and the field formation officers, the establishment of the mini-secretariat would be another futile exercise, the officer asserted.

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