Can the new PM advisor end PAS hegemony in bureaucracy?


–Shahzad Arbab to face the challenge of providing equal opportunities to all civil servants

–Key posts are currently given to PAS officers under Establishment Division’s SRO


ISLAMABAD: The Advisor to Prime Minister on Establishment Shahzad Arbab will have to face a gigantic task pertaining to the hegemony of District Management Group (DMG) as well as providing equal promotion opportunities to civil servants.

DMG officers have established their monopoly in the bureaucracy through Establishment Division’s 2014 Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) and the ACR system.

The SRO has diminished the prospects of promotions of officers other than Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS), previously known as DMG. Under this SRO, the PAS officials are given 65 per cent seats of grade-22 whereas the remaining are distributed among the 12 groups of the civil services.

In addition to this, the group has also been allotted the posts of senior joint secretaries, which were created especially for the Secretariat Group.

Moreover, the PAS had also changed its nomenclature from DMG to PAS only to grab the deputy secretary, joint secretary, and senior joint secretary posts, it has emerged.

The PAS also retained the chief secretary slots under a post sharing formula with the provincial management services.

The SRO was prepared in 2014 by certain individuals of the PAS in order to establish their hegemony in all affairs of the federal and provincial governments, officers added.

Shahzad Arbab also belongs to the powerful DMG group and remained positioned on important slots during his service.

A number of officials suggested that the new government should link ACR to Key Performance Indicator (KPI), as the ACR was based merely on likes and dislikes. The officers cannot get good grade if they are not in the good books of their reporting officer, officials complained.

The officers are expecting reforms from the new advisor Shahzad Arbab considering that he will not only look into the matter but also make an amendment in the 2014 SRO.

The PTI government wants to reform the bureaucracy so the new administration has to pay attention in these issues, they added.

Former governance member in Planning Commission of Pakistan Dr Syed Tahir Hijaz, while talking to Pakistan Today, said that the existing civil service system has become obsolete. The DMG group has established its monopoly, though the group had worked well in the fifties and sixties decade, he added.

The group resisted the new reforms in civil service ranging from ACR to specialised cadre, he aruged, adding, “World is moving towards the specialised system but Pakistan is still following the outdated system.”

He suggested to establish a committee under the supervision of Dr Ishrat Hussain that will make a new civil service system in the next six to eight months.

It was stated that there is a dire need of Information Technology cadre as only eight to 10 ministries have a digital system. He said, “80 per cent salaries go to grade 1 to 16 employees, the new government while introducing the IT-based system can mitigate these expenses.”

“The administration should be separated to policy matters and we had given proposals on this matter also,” he said.

It is pertinent to mention here that presently, most of the federal, as well as provincial department secretaries’ seats, are occupied by the PAS officers while some of the seats are technical in nature.

Pakistan Today made several attempts to contact the advisor to PM on establishment Shahzad Arbab but no response was received.