Provincial civil servants feel presence of PAS officers in K-P is illegal
Tired of living in the shadow of their federal counterparts, Provincial Management Services (PMS) officers warned a “pen-down strike” would start next week if their demands were not met. This was said at Wednesday’s meeting at the Civil Secretariat to discuss their issues with employees of Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS).
PMS officers believe the presence of PAS officials in the province—all of whom belonged to the federal cadre—was illegal after the 18th Constitutional Amendment. One of the main bones of contention for provincial officials had always remained the seat distribution formula between PMS and PAS officials. Under the current quota, PMS has a 75% share in Grade-17 posts while PAS has 25%. However, as the grades increase, the share of PMS officers dwindles. For example, PAS officers occupy 65% of the seats in Grade-21. When it comes to Grade-22, the highest stratum for a government official, PMS officers have 0% representation.
At the meeting, PMS officers said the PAS was not only taking their share of posts, but was also guilty of discriminatory decisions to undermine the provincial employees. They demanded Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa remove PAS from top administrative posts, adding the issue had already been raised in the assembly.
The house had formed a subcommittee of the K-P Assembly’s standing committee on law reforms to settle the matter. Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) leader and K-P Assembly member Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli was appointed as chairperson of the committee which comprises secretaries for establishment, and law.
The committee held meetings with officers from both groups, but has yet to reach a final decision. A PMS officer, requesting anonymity, said the committee’s technical members were all PAS officers and were using tactics to prolong the resolution of the matter. “They say the matter has been sub judice at the Supreme Court since 2010, but this is also a delaying tactic,” said the officer.
A statement issued by the PMS Association after Wednesday’s meeting said there were no restraining orders from the Supreme Court and hence no bar on the K-P Assembly. “Even the federal government has not been stopped from recruitment, promotion and promulgation of a statutory regulatory order in 2014.”
The statement added the K-P Assembly was the sole custodian of Provincial Management Services under Section 240 (b) of the Constitution of Pakistan and could not abdicate its constitutional responsibility.
It said ignoring the injustices against PMS officers would only undermine the provincial government.
The PMS officer alleged the chief secretary, being a PAS officer, was creating hurdles in the resolution of the matter through the technical members of the committee. “It has been unanimously decided if the matter of PMS versus PAS issue is not resolved by this week, 600 PMS employees will resort to a pen-down strike across the province and Fata,” the statement continued.
The officers also discussed matters related to the K-P Ehtesab Commission and showed their support for the elimination of corruption. However, they referred to certain irregularities which led to the harassment of officers and resulted in the impediment of almost all the financial operations of the government.
Secretary establishment and Tahirkheli could not be contacted for comments despite repeated attempts.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 8th, 2015.