Pakistan is a parliamentary republic run by democratically elected leaders. Every parliamentary state is comprised of three pillars: executive, legislature, and judiciary. Sadly all three pillars of the state are plagued by problems. The executive is responsible for running the day to day affairs of the Government is the most vital element of the country.
In Pakistan, the Prime Minister acts as the chief executive, under whom the cabinet operates, and under the cabinet bureaucracy performs its duties. Bureaucracy is further divided into many groups, so the vast affairs of the state can be performed swiftly. The hierarchy of the executive in Pakistan seems very simple on paper, but in actual it is the most complicated system in the world. Let’s put a light on some of the executive posts.
On a district level, the Deputy Commissioner is the head of the government in some parts of the country, while in other parts District Coordination Officer performs the same tasks. Besides this, the Mayor also performs its duties and is the head of the district council. Furthermore, District Police Officer is the chief police officer of the district who works in collaboration with DC or DCO depending on the district.
The continuous turf war between the DC and Mayor results in the poor service delivery to the masses. Furthermore, DPO and DC work in coordination, but if there is a dispute between the two then there is no clear policy to settle the dispute until an intervention has been made by the senior officers. The power struggle between DPO, Mayor, and DC affects the overall performance of the government in the district and in many cases, government policies are not implemented in letter and spirit. In addition to that, the system of governance on the district level is so complex that ordinary people do not know which department performs what task. Besides this, the quick transfers of DCs and DPOs contribute to the lack of continuity in government policies.
Furthermore, the intervention of courts in administrative affairs further demoralizes the performance of district administration. Presently, the district administration across the country is headed by either the officer of Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) or Provincial Management Service (PMS). Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) officers have a great tilt towards federation as they represent the federal group while on the other hand, PMS Officers works under the iron grip of the provincial Chief Minister. The difference of groups creates several hurdles in the implementation of provincial and federal government’s policies. The head of the district administration all over the country should belong to the same group, either PMS or PAS.
Moreover, the chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) should be an officer belonging to either Inland Revenue Service (IRS) or Pakistan Customs Service (PCS), but the government has appointed an officer of Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS). The move has seriously disappointed the career officers of the PCS and IRS. Furthermore, there is a rift between Sindh police chief and the provincial government when the former paid no heed to the latter in the recruitment of lower police officials. The move infuriated the Sindh government which retaliated by taking all powers of transfers and appointed of police officials from the Inspector General. The result is a poor law and order situation in the province.
Recently, a female Assistant Commissioner (AC) was locked in a room by lawyers for not accepting their demands. For hours there was no response from the police to rescue the Assistant Commissioner. According to the locals, police dispersed the lawyers after receiving the orders from District Police Officer (DPO). Later on, the Deputy Commissioner called the president of the local bar association and said that the matter should be resolved amicably. The incident indicates the weak command and control system of the district administration.
Effective public administration played a vital role in transforming the British economy in 18thcentury. Furthermore, bureaucracy is the most important component of the country’s executive. Reforms are needed to make the country’s bureaucracy more efficient. Higher wages attract skillful people, so there is a dire need to increase the salaries of public servants on the pattern of the judiciary. Besides this, the government should guarantee the security of tenure of public servants. Public servants feel vulnerable and so perform every task ordered to them without analyzing the constitutional nature of the order. Without effective bureaucracy, development will remain a distant dream.