Step aside President Zardari and PPP, Ansar Abbasi plays the “Sindh Card”

Pakistan’s apex investigative journalist and wannabe political advisor / strategist/ analyst / national builder / true muslim, Ansar Abbasi has written a special investigative report good enough to take the bragging rights of using the “Sindh Card” for the first time in reality. While the PPP and President Zardari are castigated time and again for their “threats” of using a “Sindh Card” just to prolong their rule, Ansar Abbasi has shown the reality to all of us. He says that PPP government led by PM Gilani has been relying on Punjabi Baboos for running the bureaucracy whereas there are just 3 out of 49 Federal Secretaries who belong to Sindh.

Now the report has been filed by looking at the domiciles of these Federal Secretaries. Can we dare ask Ansar Abbasi that does having a domicile confirm your ethnicity? Is it necessary for a Punjab domicile holder to be a Punjabi, Sindh domicile holder to be a Sindhi and so on? I for one know that both Waqar Masood Khan and Nargis Sethi both belong to Karachi and are in essence Urdu speaking. Does that mean that there is only one Sindhi as a federal secretary?

On one hand, Ansar Abbasi plays the role of a nation builder asking people to shun their nationalities and work towards a better Pakistan, and then on the other hand, writes this cheap essay that is nothing to fan ethnic tensions among people.

Please think before you write, Ansar Abbasi. Your reports are increasingly becoming irritating and worth trashing. And by the way, have you leased a space for yourself on the front page of The News and Jang, irrespective of the report?

Sindh card users banking on Punjabi Baboo brigade

Ansar Abbasi
The News, Monday, December 05, 2011

ISLAMABAD: President Zardari’s blessed Gilani government, which makes tall claims about serving the interest of the smaller federating units and leaves no opportunity to use the Sindh card, is betting on the brigade of top Punjabi bureaucrats to run his government as other provinces have either no or extremely low representation in the federal secretariat.

Out of the 49 federal secretaries, heading federal divisions, 43 belong to Punjab, three each from Sindh and KPK while there is not even a single bureaucrat from Balochistan leading any of the federal divisions. Two of the three federal secretaries, including Cabinet Secretary Nargis Sethi and Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood, have hardly or never served in Sindh in their whole career.

Punjabi bureaucrats never had a smoother sailing in the history of Pakistan than what they are presently enjoying under the PPP regime—a government which otherwise pays a lot of lip service to the ‘federation’ and the rights of the smaller federating units.

A who’s who of top-level federal bureaucracy reveals that the Federation of Pakistan has practically withered away as far as top-level bureaucratic placements are concerned. Despite all the much ado about the Balochistan package, Sindh mainstreaming and addressing the deprivation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the smaller federating units have practically nil representation at the policy and leadership level in the federal civil services and at the top policy making body of the country — the federal secretariat.

All the key civil servants posted in important bureaucratic positions are either direct ‘selectees’ of Prime Minister Gilani or ‘recommendees’ of Senior Minister Chaudry Perviaz Elahi as terms of engagement with the PPP have made it a point that all the Punjabi bureaucrats who were part of the Pervaiz Elahi team in Musharraf regime are given key positions in the federal government. This favouritism have totally disproportionate the share of the federating units in complete favour of Punjab.

It is shocking to see that out of 49 ministries and divisions surveyed, 43 positions of federal secretaries are occupied by Baboos belonging to Punjab, whereas three posts of federal secretaries are occupied by Sindhi bureaucrats, three by officers, belonging to KPK, and PM Gilani could not find even one single Baloch civil servant for a responsible position in Islamabad.

As per the Constitution, the share of provinces in the Federal Civil Services is 50 percent for Punjab, and 23 percent for Sindh, 11.5 percent for KP, 4 percent and 5% for Fata and 4 percent for Balochistan. Any government which wants to strengthen the federation should go beyond this proportion on the principles of affirmative action.

Interestingly, members of the federal cabinet, MNAs and senators have also turned a blind eye to this erosion of the federal civil service. President Zardari, who leaves no opportunity to play the Sindh card or smaller provinces card, also ignored this cartelisation of the federal bureaucracy. Even President Zardari’s own secretariat is stuffed with Punjabi bureaucrats.

One strange aspect of this scandalous under representation of smaller provinces at the top position in Islamabad is that all the major coalition partners of the PPP belonging to smaller provinces — the MQM, ANP, JUI, Fata representatives and PML-Q — have never raised a word against this historic injustice to the federation.

It is worth mentioning here that all major policy formulation bodies, like the federal cabinet, ECC, Ecnec, Planning Commission, depend on expert advice of all these federal secretaries, hence the smaller provinces are practically excluded from these important policy positions.

Following is the list of Punjabi Baboos ruling the roost under the PPP government: Junaid Iqbal Ch, Secretary Capital Administration and Development Division; Zafar Mahmood, Secretary Commerce; Anwar Ahmad Khan, Secretary Communications; Abdul Wajid Rana, Secretary Economic Affairs; Rana Asad Amin, Special Secretary Finance; Sarshar Ahmad Khan, Special Secretary, Military Finance; Salman Bashir, Secretary Foreign Affairs; Kamran Lashari, Secretary Housing & Works; Mrs Batool Iqbal Qureshi, Secretary, Human Rights; Muhammad Ahsan, Addl Secretary in charge, Human Resources Development; Taimur Azmat Usman, secretary Information and Broadcasting; Saeed Ahmad Khan, Secretary Information Technology & Tele-communication; Khawaja Siddique Akbar, Secretary Interior; Muhammad Arif Azeem, Secretary Railways; Babur yaqoob, Secretary, Kashmir Affairs and Northern Affairs; Muhammad Masood Chishti, Secretary Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs; Sohail Ahmad, Secretary Narcotics Control; Karamat Hussain Niazi, Secretary National Assembly; Anisul Hasnain Musavi, Secretary National Harmony Division; Javed Malik, Secretary National Disaster Management; Shafqat Hussain Naghmi, Secretary National Food Security and Research; Maj (r) Qamar Zaman, Secretary Overseas Pakistanis (Additional Charge); Muhammad Ejaz Chaudhry, Secretary Petroleum & Natural Resources; Javed Mahmood, Secretary, Planning & Development; Agha Sarwar Raza Qazilbash, Secretary Ports & Shipping; Raja Ikramul Haq, Secretary Postal Services; Maj (r) Haroon Rashid, Special Secretary, President’s Secretariat (Public); Maj (r) Malik Asif Hayat, Secretary, President’s Secretariat (Public); Khushnood Akhtar Lashari, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Prime Minister’s Secretariat / Federal Secretary, Establishment (Addl Charge); Muhammad Ayub Kazi, Special Secretary, Prime Minister’s Secretariat; Shahid Hussain Raja, Secretary Privatisation; Muhammad Javed Iqbal Awan, Secretary Production; Maj (r) Qamar Zaman, Secretary Professional and Technical Training; Arif Azeem, Secretary, Railways; Shoukat Hayat Durrani, Federal Secretary, Religious Affairs; Salman Siddique, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue; Ikhlaq Ahmad Tarar, Secretary Scientific & Technological Research; Asif Bajwa, Secretary Statistics; Shahid Rasheed, Secretary Textile Industry; Maj (r) Khawaja Muhammad Naeem, Wafaqi Mohtasib’s Secretariat.

KP got a slightly better deal, because Federal Industries Secretary Aziz Bilour has two brothers as a federal minister and provincial ministers. The other two KP based federal secretaries being Amjad Ali Khan, Secretary Inter Provincial Coordination and Habib Ullah Kahn as secretary States and Frontier Regions.

The only Sindhi federal secretary is Imtiaz Qazi working as federal secretary Water and Power whereas Nargis Sethi, Federal Secretary Cabinet and Dr Waqar Masood Khan, Federal Secretary, Finance, too have Sindh domiciles but if not all, they served the most part of their careers in Islamabad.



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