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  #21  
Old Monday, January 03, 2011
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Old Tuesday, January 18, 2011
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Default Post-devolution corruption in Sindh

To date, the nazims have been criticised immensely by all quarters for financial corruption. However, I would like to draw the attention of your worthy readers to the post-devolution corruption taking place at taluka level in Sindh.

When the local government elections were postponed in Sindh last year, administrators were appointed to exercise the powers of zila, taluka and Union Nazims.

Consequently, the political setup formed a lot of space for itself to suck out the funds of local bodies through their corrupt cronies.

At the district level, the concerned DCOs were appointed as administrators but at the taluka level, no uniform rule was established. Instead the three major parties, PPP, MQM and PML (F), distributed the seats of taluka nazims among themselves keeping in view the political affiliation of the taluka nazim concerned.

The first blow was struck by secretary Local Government Department who, in fact, is a school teacher but made provincial secretary. He telephoned all the TMOs of Sindh to bring Rs700,000 each and receive orders of their appointment as taluka administrators.

The MNAs and MPAs of the three major parties have distributed seats among themselves. Any ambitious person may pay the concerned MNA/MPA and get charge of taluka administrator.

It may be noted that the TMAs allegedly receive millions of rupees every month as a result of the OZT (Octroi Zila Tax) and other funds from the Local Government Department every month.

The moment the funds are received, they are distributed among the MNAs and some portion taken away by the administrators.

The strange aspect of the whole phenomenon is that nowhere in the whole province of Sindh will one see a single young DMG officer as taluka administrator.

If the DDO-R is a ranker, he is administrator and if DDO-R is of DMG, then the TMOs are appointed as administrator. The worst sufferers are the common people. Sindh is undergoing worst problems of clean drinking water, drainage and solid waste disposal. How can TMAs work well when administrators are especially sent to suck out all its funds?

The media, which is playing a very positive role, is also responsible for negligence. It has never highlighted the huge corruption taking place due to political appointment in TMAs.

The best solution is to form a uniform rule for all talukas; either DD0-Rs be appointed as administrators or the TMOs. Powers of appointment of administrators should be taken away from MNAs/MPAs if we want to stop corruption and solve the problems of the people.

A CIVIL SERVANT
Karachi

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  #24  
Old Thursday, January 20, 2011
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Default A Discussion with Dr. Amjad Saqib, Executive Director, Akhuwat

Background: The context for this discussion is preparation for a consultation on faith and development in South and Central Asia in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on January 10-11, 2011. The consultation is an endeavor of the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD) and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University, with support from the Henry R. Luce Foundation. Its aim is to take stock of the wide range of ongoing work by different organizations that are, in varying ways, inspired by religious faith, but more important, to explore the policy implications that emerge from their interactions with development organizations. The interview was conducted by telephone between Michael Bodakowski and Dr. Muhammad Amjad Saqib.

Dr. Saqib is Executive Director of Akhuwat. In this interview he reflects on his role as the founder and director of an interest free microfinance institution. He talks about how his organization functions on a technical as well as a social level. He discusses his engagement with religious institutions and leaders, and how this helps him to earn the trust of the communities he works in, as well as to ensure the sustainability of his organization. Dr. Saqib argues that faith is an intrinsic part of development, and that to leave out faith is excluding large parts of the population. He urges international development actors to increase their engagement with religious leaders to be able to reach the most marginalized. He concludes with observations about education in Pakistan and identifies common ground between faith-based and other development actors.

Tell us about your personal story and path, and how you arrived to do the work you are doing today?

Many years ago, when I was in the civil service of Pakistan, I got an opportunity to work for a poverty alleviation program. It was there that I learned much about microfinance. During my stint in this program, besides many other experiences, I also made two interesting observations. The first was that people were reluctant to take loans with built-in interest as it is forbidden in the religion. Let me add here that every religion in the world is against usury or charging interest on loans. Though people did not like interest-based lending, yet they had no other option and hence, they had to participate in this form of borrowing.

The second observation that disturbed me immensely was the exorbitantly high rates of interest that were being charged from the poor. If a rich person wanted to buy a luxury item like BMW or a Mercedes, he could get a loan at 12 percent or perhaps 15 percent. However, if a poor person needed a loan, it was more than likely that he would be given that at 30 to 40 percent rate of interest. Even from a secular point of view, this becomes a question of gross inequity. We have slogans all over the country that suggest that we should help the poor and yet, we are charging a 30 to 40 percent interest rate on loans and making the poor even poorer. These two observations prompted me to find a solution to the issue of high interest on small loans and also encouraged me to critically examine the social, moral, and cultural values of society that allow such forms of usury.

On one particular day, a very poor woman came to me. She said she was a widow and if she was given a loan for Rs. 10,000 (which is about $150), she would be able to keep her livelihood; however, she insisted that the loan should be interest free. So, I requested a friend of mine for support. Together we generated a pool of money and were able to loan her the money on those terms. She was so touched by this gesture that she worked even harder. She made good use of the funds and in a span of mere six months she was able to improve the lives of her children and other members of her family. She was able to marry one of her daughters. She also repaid the borrowed amount. That was the beginning of this organization, which was named Akhuwat.

Please tell us more about Akhuwat.

After the delivery of the first loan, we created a pool of money through donations from known philanthropists, friends, and well-to-do people. That pool of money was our capital which, thankfully, came to us free of cost. We started to distribute that money to the poor without any loan fees and without charging interest. Our initial loan was Rs. 10,000, and I am proud to tell you that by December 2010 we had loaned close to Rs. 1 billion. Our current pool of money that is around Rs. 250 million is like a revolving fund. We loan money to the poor, we recover our loan, and then we loan out the money again to another person in need. Through circulating this amount of money amongst the poor, we have been able to generate loans near to Rs. 1 billion. Our recovery rate, at 99.7%, is astonishingly high and speaks of the fact that the poor are trustworthy people.

The entire program is founded on the concept of “Akhuwat,” which in Arabic means brotherhood. We borrowed this concept from the tradition of the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said that the best way to end poverty is not through charity but through sacrifice and adoption. He suggested that a wealthy person should adopt a poor person and help that person. To be more precise, a wealthy person should enter into a relationship of brotherhood with a poor person and then help that person through a bond of association instead of giving dissociated charity.

This is the notion of brotherhood that links a wealthy person to an underprivileged person and it is derived from the teaching of the Qur’an. This is the philosophy behind our organization. We believe that poverty cannot be eliminated through charity; in fact, it requires a bond of brotherhood between the “haves” and the “have nots.” Let me explain through an example. The total population of the world at present stands at six billion. Two billion of these are below poverty line. If the top two billion who are not poor adopt the bottom two billion who are poor, i.e. one person adopting only one, then the bottom two billion may be lifted from the quagmire of poverty. It looks very idealistic but it is simple. Akhuwat’s four guiding principles are derived from this one basic concept.

The first principle of our organization is that we do not charge interest on our loans. Interest is forbidden in Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and all major religions of the world, and we think that interest is one of the basic reasons for poverty and exploitation of the poor. After we decided not to charge any interest, we suddenly ran into the problem of sustainability. If we are not charging interest, how are we going to cover operational expenses? We brainstormed solutions and finally got an idea. The idea was that we could work at local religious centers such as mosques and churches and link our offices to these instead of having an office in an expensive building. That way, we could be in touch with people and the local imams and priests that are providing services to the people of Allah. This would also enable us to be in touch with the community and not only help raise funds but also help identify people in need and distress.

This innovation developed into the second principle that guides our organization, i.e. we operate from local religious centers. We researched the history of religious institutions and found that they had been centers of community participation in the past. They provided services to the poor and were the platform for community action. In the city of Lahore there are more than 17,000 mosques and a good number of churches and unfortunately these are all underutilized, only used during prayer time. During other periods of time they are mostly empty. So we linked our office with a mosque and started doing most of our activities in the mosque. We received immediate support and trust of the community and were able to also reduce our operating costs.

The third principle integral to our organization is volunteerism. A civil society organization is different from a private sector organization because it has in-built volunteerism. If any civil society organization is devoid of the volunteer spirit, it runs the risk of becoming a business. In Akhuwat, we expect people to give their time and their abilities; the spirit of the entire organization is based on volunteerism. This is also derived from our faith, in which the principle of volunteerism is the most important part of every tradition. Every prophet is a volunteer, right from Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him. The Prophets always looked beyond themselves to help the community socially, morally, economically, and politically. We wanted to follow the footsteps of these great prophets and adopt their methods of bringing change to the community through participation.

The fourth principle for our organization is that we do not want to make people dependent. We want the people who borrow from us to stand on their own feet and one day become donors themselves for others in need. We are not charging any interest or profit, but we are supporting people and hopefully instilling a value to help others after their own needs are fulfilled.

All religions place emphasis on charity and also teach that charity is not confined to the wealthy members of society; everyone is responsible to give, based on his or her resources. We believe that society flourishes, progresses, and develops only when there are more givers than takers. For the long-term sustainable development of a society, we have to create a critical mass of people who are willing to give to the poor and needy instead of taking.

In Pakistan 50 percent of the people are poor and the other 50 percent are not poor. If the 50 percent that are wealthy stand in solidarity with the 50 percent that are poor they could improve social conditions for everyone. You may consider this an idealistic vision of the world but we have tried, tested, and achieved it. We have been able to reach over 80,000 families, and we still continue to progress and grow.

I believe these four principles are relevant not only in Pakistan but in any society. Whether a person is secular or follows a religion, these principles are important and appealing to all. However, for us at Akhuwat, these principles are linked to the faith. We promote this spirit of brotherhood as taught by the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, to alleviate poverty. It is not charity but rather adopting a family and helping it improve its life through sharing instead of charity. We organize all of our programs around this central tenet. Though the inspiration is derived from the Islamic concept of brotherhood, the message is for all humankind. We do not discriminate on the basis of religion, race, caste, creed, tribe, or gender. We are trying to support the people irrespective of any divide or affiliation.

What does development mean for Akhuwat?

We believe deeply in participatory development. We believe in inclusive development. In a religion-centered country like Pakistan, if you do not involve the religious people – including the mosques and the imams – then a large part of the population and society remains excluded. Religion is also pro-development. Any development model that excludes religious people, places, and spaces is insufficient to cater to the needs of entire population. If we want to include the poor living in rural areas and slums in the development process, then we will have to involve faith, religious actors, and religious places. We thus decided to bring religious institutions to the development forefront and make them partners in the development process.

This is our understanding of an inclusive and participatory development model. It also needs mentioning that there is no religious, gender, or age discrimination in our organization. For example, Christians come to the mosque and Muslims go to the church as well. This has promoted interfaith harmony; for the first time Christians are welcomed in mosques. Women are facilitated to come to the mosques freely. In this way we have been able to help different social and religious communities bind together to respond to common concerns, issues, and challenges. I would like to reiterate that religion should not be excluded from the development paradigm. Development is not just an economic change; it is social, moral, and political. Religion primarily focuses on social and moral development of the individual, which it aims to attain through leading by example, equity, compassion, provision, securing of human rights, and equitable distribution of economic resources. Development process in a society therefore needs to involve indigenous institutions and faith.

Can you expand on how Akhuwat gets funds for its operational costs and guarantees repayment of its loans?

We have our offices that are linked to a church or a mosque. Some of our activities take place in the mosque or the church and some of them take place in the office. This is how we keep our operational costs low. The conventional microfinance organizations spend about 30 percent of the disbursed amount for operations. We have reduced our cost to 10 percent of the disbursed amount. This is one third of the operating cost of a traditional microfinance organization.

It is interesting to note that around sixty percent of our costs are met by donations from our borrowers. We inspire them to donate as much as they want in return for the interest free loan. Without any compulsion or coercion, they are giving donations to meet operational costs; this makes us 60 percent self-sufficient. The way the program is progressing, we believe that in few years, the entire operational cost will be matched by donations given by the borrowers, and we will be operationally self-sufficient.

Akhuwat is gradually becoming a cooperative movement. There is no other organization where the beneficiaries are the donors as well. There is a tremendous amount of willingness among the borrowers to become donors of this program. They are committed to making it better, through supporting the program and ensuring that it is sustainable. Akhuwat is providing them services that are aligned to their faith. This has cultivated their ownership, and “ownership” is critical for the success of a development program. This voluntary donation is also indicative of the fact that they are coming out of poverty. It proves the success of interest-free credit methodology.

What is the nature of Akhuwat’s relationship with local churches and mosques? How are local faith communities and religious leaders directly involved in community development activities?

Initially there was some resistance from the religious leaders, and some of the imams did not understand our vision. Religious leaders, as we have noted, are generally excluded from mainstream development. They thought we were encroaching on their domain; they did not trust us and they thought we had a hidden agenda. They did not think that we could bridge these two worlds, the economic and the spiritual; they doubted our intentions. We tried to explain that religious places are also meant for the social welfare of human beings, and we gave examples from Islamic history and reminded them that the mosque was once used to be the seat of governance. It was always a part of the development process; we did not want to take control of the mosque, but we were trying to utilize the institution to help the community and promote peace and equity. Once they understood, they responded positively. They also realized that when we give loans through the office of the mosque, the social status of the imam is raised and he feels empowered. The entire process is about engaging and empowerment. Through our program, we have tried to take the mosque out of seclusion and brought it into the development mainstream.

It was a difficult path and we struggled, but we have managed to make progress. Now as a routine matter we also involve the mosque to implement a social agenda. We teach the people about the importance of educating women, about human rights, environmental pollution, education and health issues, etc. On the one hand it is about loans, entrepreneurial training and capacity building, and on the other hand it is about social development and guidance to enable the community to progress. We have found a thriving institution where many players can pursue common objectives in a fully transparent and participative manner.

You mentioned that religious leaders are excluded from mainstream development. Why is this so and what are the main tensions? How can secular organizations better work to bridge this gap and overcome these tensions?

It is extremely important in a society like Pakistan, which has a huge faith focus, that people realize that you cannot have development without involving faith-based institutions. Engaging the faith leaders is the most important thing to do for the uplifting of the community; however, it is only possible through dialogue and mutual understanding and frequent interaction. The religious leaders live in a domain of their own. They mostly do not trust the outside world. The non-religious people and the secular agencies also stay aloof and do not try to pursue a productive dialogue with the religious leadership. How will the much needed harmony in the society be achieved?

There are thousands of madrasas and each one has a mosque attached to it. We need to enhance the options available to these students and try to bring them into mainstream society. We need to engage the madrasa leaders and the students so that they are aware of the options that are open to them. Without working with them, we cannot involve or engage them in development activities. As I said, when I first went to the religious leaders and told them about the program they were distrustful; over time, our relationship has changed and developed into mutual trust and accommodation.

Poverty in fact is poverty of opportunity. We told the religious leaders that the purpose of our program was to give poor people opportunity to access loans or financial resources so that they could improve their lives. We also told them that we are giving people loans according to the tenets of Islamic faith, and this is also in accordance with the teaching of all religions. We are not charging interest and yet, we are managing to give the poor people access to resources and opening doors to development.

Let me give you an example from Bangladesh. Similar to Pakistan, faith is an integral part of the Bangladeshi culture. The country became successful in the implementation of its population control programs when it engaged the faith leaders. Faith proved to be a key success factor. The religious leaders are not against development, but we need to engage them like other stakeholders, so that they understand the process and can be included in it.

This is not an easy task. There are many barriers. Religious leaders are often not as well educated in development disciplines. Sometimes they do not speak the language the people in development organizations speak. So inclusion here entails a different strategy; we engage them in creative ways so that we can talk about education, microfinance, women’s empowerment, and social and economic development in general.

This inclusion is the only way to fight against illiteracy, ignorance, discrimination, extremism, and terrorism. Religion is a positive force. It does not teach war, violence, or terrorism, and it certainly does not take away the liberties of women and the poor. All religions came to rescue the disadvantaged. If you see the history of Islam, you will see that the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, stood for social justice. He stood for empowerment of these who were extremely disadvantaged and marginalized. Religion is the pinnacle of moral values and should work in communion with development organizations to eliminate injustice, war, hatred, and violence.

How would you advise secular organizations to engage religious leaders on a practical level?

The best way to bring these issues to the forefront is to present this alternate paradigm and communicate it to the world. We should organize workshops, seminars, and conferences; write case-studies and publish books; and then bring people to a common platform where we can discuss, dialogue, and deliberate together. We need to create a critical mass of people who are willing to see development in the faith perspective. Once we do this, we should be able to tell the world that these two factions of society are willing to work together to alleviate the poverty of the two billion poor people in the world. There is no room for skepticism and mistrust. Religious leadership needs to be told that being secular does not mean being anti-religion.

Promoting faith-inspired organizations that are helping the poor and introducing them to the international development community is important. We need to promote those organizations that are not restricting services to their own faith or those that do not have a hidden agenda. For example, there are missionary or church-based organizations in Pakistan, and I am happy to see that these organizations are highly respected and well regarded. They do not serve their own community only. They serve the entire Pakistani community. If we promote such organizations we can build the bridges and set examples.

I saw that Akhuwat grants loans for education. What are the education challenges facing Pakistan, and how have you faced them?

Education in Pakistan is riddled with neglect and confusion. There are three systems of education that are operating in the country. There are English medium schools for the privileged and the rich. Then there are government schools where the language of instruction is Urdu and where the poor people send their children to get education. Naturally, these students are unable to compete with the graduates from the English schools. The third system is the madrasa system where the children of the poorest of the poor attend school. These schools appeal to the poor families because they provide food for the children, and parents are relieved from the stress of feeding a child two meals a day. There is also the added benefit that the child is receiving a religious education.

Those who emerge from these three streams do not have a fair understanding of the others. They live in different worlds. They have different aspirations, different dreams. So, how does one go about trying to make three types of people converge together? How can you make these three sections of society into a one cohesive nation? This is the challenge that is facing the Pakistani education system. We need to bring these three systems closer to each other. Obviously it cannot be done in one day. But the state, international community, and NGOs should try to encourage reform in madrasa education. The government schools and English medium schools need reform too. The curriculum is outdated, teachers lack capacity and motivation, and there is a scarcity of teaching and learning materials. The goal should be to develop a single system of education so that every Pakistani child should have the access to reach his/her full potential through education. No doubt it will be an arduous and painful process because change is always painful. It will also take a long time as injustices bred over centuries cannot be removed in a short span of time.

We should encourage students from the private elite institutions to visit the government schools and the madrasas and vice-versa so that they become aware that there is also a world beyond their own world. Students from each system who are confined to their spheres must be made aware of each other. We need to form relationships between the students and teachers and the parents of these students so that we may bridge this gap. We also need support and commitment from political leadership to bring about reform to make a single inclusive education system. It would require tremendous resources, both human and financial. It will also need persistence and perseverance. This is the real challenge.

What are the primary gender challenges today in Pakistan? What are the faith dimensions of those challenges? How does Akhuwat work to address gender inequities?

In our lending program, 33 percent of the loans go to women. We have never refused a loan application on the basis of gender. We are gender sensitive in terms of employees, donors, volunteers, and beneficiaries. We believe that men and women both should be able to have access to the services we offer, and we derive this value from faith. Islam does define roles for both genders, but it does not discriminate on the basis of gender. However, gender discrimination in Pakistani society cannot be denied, especially in the rural areas. This has, however, nothing to do with religion; it is an evil rooted in our tribal and feudal culture.

For example, Islam prescribes clear rules about inheritance. But in the villages women are unable to get their share in the inheritance and other benefits because of the gender limitations that are related to tribal culture. In rural society it is very difficult for a woman to obtain divorce, yet in the Islamic faith, there are rules safeguarding women’s right to divorce. Women in rural areas are marginalized and discriminated against despite the fact that this is contrary to religious teachings. Islam says that education is the right of every person, male and female without discrimination; however, in feudal societies like ours, the women are not allowed to get education. The feudal tradition is communicated to the women usually through religious leaders, and feudal cultural restrictions are thus misinterpreted as religious restrictions. We have to see it in the right perspective. Religion does not take rights away from women; the basis of gender discrimination in Pakistan hinges on tribal tradition.

How did faith-inspired organizations respond to recent humanitarian crises in Pakistan, including internal displacement due to conflict, and the recent flooding in the country?

We have been victims of great crises in the past few years. Yet we have emerged stronger. You will appreciate how resilient our society is and how well we are adjusting to these challenges. The major support for the downtrodden and the victims of the flood and the earthquake has come from faith. People in Pakistan help their brothers and sisters because they are inspired by faith, whether they are Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, or Hindus. The role of faith-based organizations, though, was limited, yet the inspiration mostly came from faith.

Looking specifically at the Pakistani context, faith, in varying forms and manifestations, plays a large role in most segments of society, and provides inspiration to many working for social good. That said, do you see a clear distinction between organizations inspired by faith, and those that are outwardly secular in name, or is a more nuanced understanding necessary? I have heard comments suggesting the latter.

The end goal of each organization is the same. Faith-inspired organizations and secular organizations both intend to bring development to the people; in terms of objectives there is very little difference. The difference is in operational methodology. Faith-inspired organizations try to engage religious ideals, religious leaders, religious teachings, and ethics. Religious tradition is their legacy and reward hereafter is their motivation. Whereas the secular organizations leave out the religion and religious institutions, and therefore they, despite their best intentions, fail to engage a large majority of the society. To some extent both are limiting their scope. This is not inclusive development. This is against the principles of participation. We need to transcend prejudices and rise above personal likes and dislikes. Embracing adversaries is the real spirit of religion. Forgiveness and friendship is the hallmark of true faith.

As I said, I do believe that the ultimate goal of each organization, whether faith-inspired or secular, is the same, that is, to bring development to the poor. The need here is to bridge the gap and build alliances. The problems of the poor are multidimensional. These problems can only be solved through creative and concerted efforts. I know many people who work on both sides of this divide. To me, this divide is arbitrary and artificial. I firmly believe in the innate goodness of people. We all want to eliminate poverty and build a society that provides equal opportunities to the rich and the poor. Our world is already suffering from too many divides; let’s see development as a joint endeavor of the people, by the people and for the people. Let’s not succumb to another division – let’s make this world a happy place to live in.


Source:
http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/...rector-akhuwat

---

Profile of Dr. Muhammad Amjad Saqib
Dr. Muhammad Amjad Saqib, Executive Director at Akhuwat, graduated from King Edward Medical College Lahore and completed Master’s degree in Public Administration (MPA) and Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship at American University. He joined the civil service of Pakistan (DMG) in 1985, and retired in 2003. Since then, besides rendering philanthropic and social services, he has been providing consultancy services to Asian Development Bank, International Labour Organization, UNICEF, World Bank, and Canadian International Development Agency. His areas of expertise include poverty alleviation, microfinance, social mobilization and education management. He is author of four books and is a columnist in Pakistan. Dr. Saqib is founder of Akhuwat, the first ever interest free microfinance program in Pakistan, which operates from mosques and churches.
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  #25  
Old Thursday, January 20, 2011
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Default ‘Khosa committee decisions yet to be implemented’

By Babar Dogar

LAHORE

THE District Management Group (DMG) is out to circumvent decisions taken by the Sardar Zulfiqar Khosa Committee constituted by the Punjab chief minister in July 2010 for solution of problems of provincial officers.

Addressing a gathering of provincial officers outside the office of the Services Secretary in Civil Secretariat here, PCS, PSS & PMS Officers Welfare Association President Rai Manzoor Hussain Nasir said despite a lapse of more than six months, decisions taken by the committee were yet to be implemented and few decisions, which were being implemented, were totally against the agreement reached in a meeting and endorsed by the committee. The DMG officers while preparing a summary for the chief minister misrepresented the facts and got approved minutes from the chief minister, which were against the decisions taken by the committee, he charged.

He said the gathering of more than 60 provincial officers just on information of his visit to the Secretariat indicated a deep sense of resentment was again permeating the provincial officers after this act of the District Management Group.

Rai Manzoor Nasir said that every effort was being made by the DMG officers to block the promotion of provincial officers to higher grades. Even under the disputed seat sharing formula of 1993, 300 posts of provincial services’ share in grade 18; 60 in grade 19; 34 in grade 20 and seven in grade 21 were lying vacant. The provincial officers were being denied promotion deliberately. He narrated the example of DCO Jehlum Hamed Ullah Khan, who retired on 31st December, 2010 in grade 20 despite the availability of seven posts in grade 21 and the Provincial Selection Board in its meeting held on 30th December did not have the compassion to consider him for promotion.

He lamented that DMG was allowed to hold the provincial services under subjugation only in the province of Punjab. In other provinces, the provincial officers had been given their rights. In other provinces, no post of provincial share remains vacant even for one day. In Punjab, the provincial officers were victims of worst exploitation; they had to serve as long as 15 to 21 years in grade 17 alone while DMG officers were promoted to grade 18 just after five years. Senior provincial officers were posted under junior DMG officers and provincial officers posted on non-significant posts. Out of 42 administrative secretaries, only three were from provincial service, he added.

He further said that every action of DMG was aimed at depriving the provincial officers of their legitimate rights and malafide tactics were being used by them for this. Training had been made mandatory for promotion of provincial officers; however, holding of training had been left to the sweet will of DMG. Secretary MPDD never concealed her bias against provincial services and she had publicly declared that she would not allow training for 1992 batch of PCS.

He said that it was decided by Sardar Zulfiqar Khosa Committee that timely training would be given to the provincial officers. If training could not be given in time, the condition of mandatory training would stand waived. Unfortunately none of the decisions were implemented by DMG-dominated S&GAD resulting in gradual disappearance of the provincial officers in higher grades.

Another decision taken by the Committee was that discriminatory condition of Minimum Service Length would be abolished. However, S&GAD abolished the condition for all the services except the PCS, PSS and PMS as no amendment was made in Provincial Management Service Rules 2004.

He further said that it was decided by the Committee that DMG officers, who had been posted out of Punjab would retain official residences only for one year. Despite clear-cut decision to this effect, the DMG officers sent a wrong summary to the chief minister and changed the time period from one year to two years and thus misled the chief minister.

He said that even the two-year decision was not being implemented and the officers, who had been posted out of Punjab as long as seven years ago were still occupying the official residences in GOR. Not even a single notice was issued to these illegal occupants. He said that the DMG officers moving summary to the chief minister added certain things from their own side favouring DMG officers and added that the DMG officers could retain residences in Punjab until they were provided with a residence at their new place of posting in other province. This, he said, was quite illogical as provision of residence was the responsibility of federal government or the province where these DMG officers were transferred. By occupying the Punjab residences they are usurping the rights of the provincial officers.

Doors of Punjab Civil Officers Mess were still closed for the provincial officers; whereas, even such federal services as postal, income tax, audit could become members. He said that the provincial officers were being driven against the wall.

Source:
http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrin...=5&dt=1/7/2011
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Default Punjab govt’s reforms agenda 4 posts of EDOs, 67 of police to go

Punjab govt’s reforms agenda 4 posts of EDOs, 67 of police to go

LAHORE, Jan 21: A cabinet committee headed by Sardar Zulfiqar Khosa on Friday approved abolition of ‘unnecessary’ 67 senior posts in the police department and four of the EDOs in each district government.

The proposals are a part of the reforms agenda of the provincial government and their approval by the cabinet committee is being considered a major step towards winding up the administrative system introduced by the Musharraf regime in the name of devolution of power.

Sources said the committee comprising Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan, Irrigation Minister Raja Riaz and Finance Minister Tanvir Ashraf Kaira also approved downgrading the posts of divisional commissioners and DCOs of five city district governments in Punjab.

The recommendations of the committee are being sent to the chief minister for his early approval. The final phase of giving legal cover to the reforms would be started after the chief minister’s approval, sources said.

They said the committee approved abolition of all “redundant” posts of additional IGs, DIGs, SSPs and SDPOs in the police department.

The police department had become too heavy under the Musharraf government’s Police Order, increasing alone the number of additional IGs from the previous two to 13.

A senior police official said the department had itself suggested reduction in the posts to help the government save money without affecting its operational side.

The police posts which are being abolished include Additional IGs Vigilance, Research and Development, and Operations. There are four posts of DIGs, including Director Sports and DIGs Administration, in Multan and two other cities.

One post of SSP and 59 posts of SDPOs where DSPs and ASPs belonging to the Police Service of Pakistan are posted, are also included in the downsizing list.

The committee approved abolition of the posts of EDOs Information Technology, Law, Literacy and most importantly Revenue in the district governments.

It may be mentioned here that the post of EDO Revenue was created under the Local Government Ordinance 2001, giving it the revenue powers of the post of divisional commissioner that was then abolished.

Sources said the government was also considering to withdraw the revenue powers of the district governments given to them again under the Local Government Ordinance 2001. And in view of the EDO Revenue post abolition, the Board of Revenue has been asked to prepare proposals regarding the new revenue administrative set-up, and suggest amendments in the related laws accordingly.

They said it would also be required to amend the Local Government Ordinance 2001 to give legal cover to the abolition of the post of EDO Revenue, and the authorities concerned had been asked to start the homework.

They said the committee approved reduction of the one each posts of members general and judicial of the Chief Minister’s Inspection Team. It also agreed to abolish another CMIT general post and instead allowed it to have one more member engineering.

Similarly, the committee approved abolition of one each post of planning and development member and joint chief economist.

The committee approved downgrading the posts of commissioners of divisions not having city district governments from BS-21 to BS-20. The posts of commissioners of divisions having city district governments would continue to be in BS-21.

According to an earlier proposal, all seats of divisional commissioners were to be downgraded from the existing BS-21 to BS-20.

The committee approved downgrading the posts of all DCOs of the five city district governments of Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Gujranwala and Rawalpindi from the existing BS-21 to BS-20. At present, junior officers are holding a number of BS-20 and BS-21 posts of DCOs, indicating that personal choice and not merit is the rule of the game in Punjab.

Source:
http://www.dawn.com/2011/01/22/punja...ice-to-go.html
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A collection of Roedad Khan's articles > http://www.pkcolumns.com/category/en...s/roedad-khan/
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صرف اور صرف پاکستان



جشن آزادی کے حوالے سے گوجرانوالہ میں ڈی آئی جی ذوالفقار چیمہ نے ایک منفرد ترین تقریب کی۔ اس مہینے میں پورا ملک ایک خاص جذبے سے سرشار ہوتا ہے۔ سب سے شاندار سرگرمی نظریہ پاکستان ٹرسٹ کے زیر اہتمام ہوتی ہے۔ لگتا ہے کہ صرف یہی ادارہ ہی پاکستان اور نظریہ پاکستان کا ترجمان اور نگہبان ہے۔ یہاں ہر تقریب پاکستان کے حوالے سے ہوتی ہے۔ ہر روز یہاں 14 اگست کا سماں ہوتا ہے۔ پاکستان ایسا ملک ہے جو روز بنتا ہے۔ جناب مجید نظامی کی سرپرستی میں نظریہ پاکستان ٹرسٹ ایک تحریک کی شکل اختیار کر گیا ہے۔ پاکستان میں تحریک پاکستان کی خوشبو بکھرتی رہتی ہے۔

ذوالفقار چیمہ نے گوجرانوالہ کو قائداعظم کا شہر بنا دیا ہے۔ ابھی 14 اگست میں کچھ دن رہتے ہیں کہ پولیس والوں نے سڑکوں پر سبز ہلالی پرچم لہراتے ہوئے موٹرسائیکلوں پر مارچ شروع کر دیا ہے۔ یہ منظر بہت شاندار تھا۔ اس سے سارا شہر خوبصورت لگ رہا تھا۔ پولیس والے پاکستان زندہ باد کی زندہ تصویر کی طرح تھے۔ چیمہ صاحب پورے شہر کی محبوب ترین شخصیت ہیں۔ اس شخص نے موقعہ دیا ہے کہ ہم پولیس والوں کی تعریف کر سکیں۔ پولیس کے لئے لوگوں کا تاثر کچھ اچھا نہیں مگر چیمہ صاحب نے اس ادارے کا کردار ہی تبدیل کر دیا ہے۔ وہ اب تک دو دفعہ پہلے بھی یہ تقریب کر چکے ہیں جس میں لوگوں کا لوٹا ہوا مال واپس کیا جا سکتا ہے۔ مجھے آج معلوم ہوا کہ ایسے بھی ہوتا ہے۔ اس معاملے کو کھلے عام لوگوں کے سامنے ایک جلسہ عام میں کرنا بہت حیرت انگیز واقعہ ہے پھر اس واقعے کو جشن آزادی کے ساتھ جوڑ دینا بھی ایک خوشگوار حیرت کا باعث ہے۔

تقریب میں سٹیج پر بیٹھے ہوئے خوبصورت نوجوان ملک ظہیر سے ملاقات ہوئی۔ وہ چیمہ صاحب کو بہت محبوب رکھتا ہے۔ چیمبر آف کامرس اینڈ انڈسٹری کا قائم مقام صدر ہے۔ دل میں آیا کہ ایسے نوجوان قائداعظم کے پاکستان کے شہروں کی نمائندگی کریں۔ وہ شہباز شریف کا دیوانہ ہے۔ اسے مسلم لیگ ن کی طرف سے ٹکٹ ملے تو وہ مقبولیت کے نئے ریکارڈ بنائے گا۔ اس تقریب میں سچے پاکستانیوں کی موجودگی عجب آسودگی کا باعث تھی۔ گوجرانوالہ کا فاروق عالم انصاری قومی سطح کا کالم نگار ہے وہ حاضرین میں بیٹھے تھے مگر چیمہ صاحب نے انہیں بلاکر لوٹی ہوئی رقم اصل مالکوں کو دلوائی۔ اس نے بتایا کہ بتایا کہ آج سے کئی برس پہلے میرے مرحوم والد کی موجودگی میں گھر سے دس بارہ لاکھ کا ڈاکہ پڑا تھا آج تک ایک پیسہ نہیں ملا۔ ممکن ہے کہ چیمہ صاحب اس معاملے میں بھی کوئی معرکہ آرائی کر دکھائیں۔ سٹیج پر موجود ن لیگ کی باقاعدہ منتخب ایم پی اے شاذیہ اشفاق کہہ رہی تھی کہ شہر کے کسی آدمی کو تکلیف پہنچے تو وہ چیمہ صاحب تک پہنچنا چاہتا ہے جیسے ان سے ملاقات کے بعد ساری تکلیفیں دور ہو جائیں گی اور تکلیفیں دور ہو بھی رہی ہیں۔ پولیس کے محکمے میں ایسے لوگ غنیمت ہیں۔ ورنہ لوگ پولیس میں ’’مال غنیمت‘‘ اکٹھا کرنے کیلئے آتے ہیں۔ ہم چیمہ صاحب کے شکرگزار ہیں کہ انہوں نے پولیس کی تعریف کرنے کا موقعہ دیا۔ یہاں لوگوں نے پولیس کی گاڑیوں پر پھول نچھاور کئے۔ اب لوگوں نے سوچنا شروع کر دیا ہے کہ پولیس والے چاہیں تو وہ ان سے محبت کرنے لگیں گے۔

ذوالفقار چیمہ کے بڑے بھائی جسٹس (ر) افتخار چیمہ ایم این اے ہیں ان کی تعریف چیف جسٹس افتخار محمد چودھری نے بھی کی ہے۔ ڈاکٹر نثار چیمہ ای ڈی او ہیلتھ ہیں۔ وہ مریض کے بھیس میں مریضوں کے حالات معلوم کرتے رہتے ہیں اور خلق خدا کی دعائیں لیتے ہیں۔ اچھا شخص جہاں ہو گا وہ بھلائی کی بات کرے گا۔ گوجرانوالہ مسلم لیگ ن کا شہر ہے مگر وہ دو دھڑوں میں بری طرح الجھا ہوا ہے۔ ایسے میں یہاں چیمہ برادرز بھی نہ ہوتے تو کیا ہوتا۔
یہاں پوزیشن لینے والے بچوں کی پذیرائی کی گئی۔ یہ پولیس والوں کا کام نہیں مگر چیمہ صاحب پاکستان کی محبت میں بے قرار ہیں۔ پولیس کے جوانوں اور افسروں کو بہترین کارکردگی پر انعام دیئے گئے۔ ایس پی اویس صاحب کو ایک لاکھ روپیہ ملا۔ علی محسن اور اطہر وحید بھی اچھے پولیس افسر ہیں۔

12 اگست کو مجھے بلایا گیا کہ جشن آزادی کے حوالے سے ایک تقریب ہے۔ یہاں سب سے پہلے ذوالفقار چیمہ نے تقریر کرتے ہوئے کہا کہ آج سوا تین کروڑ روپے ان لوگوں کو پیش کئے جائیں گے جن کے گھروں میں چوری ہوئی اور جن سے مال و دولت ڈاکو چھین کر لے گئے۔ وہ سب لوگ سٹیج پر آئے اور اپنے پیسے وصول کرتے رہے جیسے انہیں انعام دیا جا رہا ہو۔ میں نے ایک بوڑھے آدمی کو آٹھ لاکھ روپے دیئے تو وہ اتنا ممنون ہوا جیسے میں نے اپنی جیب سے یہ خطیر رقم اسے عنایت کی ہو۔ ورنہ چوری ڈاکے کی رقم کب واپسی ملتی ہے۔ میری بہن کا پرس اچھرہ بازار میں غائب ہو گیا جس میں کل 30 ہزار روپے تھے۔ اس وقت کے ڈی آئی جی طارق سلیم ڈوگر کے ساتھ تعلق کے باوجود ایک پیسہ واپس نہیں ملا۔ میں نے چیمہ صاحب سے کہا کہ میری بھی ایک چیز پچھلے ساٹھ برسوں سے گم ہو گئی ہے۔ وہ مجھے واپس دلوا دیں۔ وہ ہے آزادی اور آزادی کی آرزو۔ یہ گمشدہ آزادی چیمہ صاحب کی گفتگو میں بھی تھی۔ وہ قائداعظمؒ کا ذکر کرتے ہوئے بھیگے دل سے کہہ رہے تھے کہ انہوں نے جنگ کے بغیر ایک دن بھی جیل نہ جا کے پاکستان بنایا ان کے پاکستان کی قدر کرو۔ پاکستان نہ بنتا تو میں ہندو ڈی آئی جی کا اردلی ہوتا۔ اس وقت وہ قائداعظمؒ کے اردلی لگ رہے تھے اور یہ شان انہیں پاکستان اور پاکستانیوں سے محبت نے دی ہے۔ نحیف ونزار شخص کے وجود میں بجلیاں وجد کرتی تھیں۔ دبلا پتلا شخص کیسا کوہسار صفت تھا کہ آج اس کے ذکر سے ہی دشمنوں پر لرزہ طاری ہو جاتا ہے۔ چیمہ صاحب نے زندگی کا مقصد ہی قائداعظمؒ کے پاکستان کی تعمیروترقی بنایا۔ انہوں نے کہا ’’صرف اور صرف پاکستان‘‘۔ یہ نعرہ پاکستان کے ظالم آمر اور بھگوڑے صدر جنرل پرویز مشرف کے اس نعرے کے مقابلے میں زندہ اور سچا ہے۔ ’’سب سے پہلے پاکستان‘‘۔ اس کی ترجیحات میں سب سے پہلے پاکستان کو بدنام اور برباد کرنا تھا مگر یہ ملک دلوں میں آباد ہو رہا ہے۔ ماہ رمضان کی شب قدر میں بننے والا یہ ملک رہتی دنیا تک آباد رہے گا کہ شب قدر ہزار مہینوں سے بہتر ہے کتنی ایسی راتیں آ رہی ہیں اور پھر اجالے کی طرح اُجلی خواہش جو ہر دل میں روشن ہے

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