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KP's Administrative Crisis Deepens Amid Political Interventions

On the other hand, the province's financial woes continue to escalate rather than abate.

by TNN Editor - 05 Sep, 2023 1509
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Muhammad Faheem

After political interference in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the administrative crisis has further deepened. Even though a week has passed since the Election Commission issued orders to remove Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Chief Secretary, the process of returning the services of the Additional Chief Secretary to the Federation has yet to commence.

On Tuesday, August 29, the Election Commission sent a letter to the Secretary of the Establishment Division, directing the removal of Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Nadeem Aslam Chaudhry, citing his inability to fulfill his duties adequately. Sources indicate that several officers have expressed their dissatisfaction with this post, and as of now, the establishment division has not forwarded the summary for Nadeem Aslam Chaudhry's removal.

Conversely, the federal government instructed Additional Chief Secretary Zubair Asghar Qureshi to report to the Establishment Division on Tuesday. However, due to a new dispute regarding the Chief Secretary, the process to return the Additional Chief Secretary's services has been stalled. According to protocol, the summary for the return of the Additional Chief Secretary should be sent to the Chief Minister by the Chief Secretary, and only after approval can the Additional Chief Secretary report back to the Federation. This dispute between officers and the Election Commission has triggered an administrative crisis in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, resulting in most files remaining stagnant on desks since Tuesday.

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Renowned journalist Shahid Hameed opines that a more effective method could have been employed to remove the Chief Secretary. The province's top administrator has reached a point of uncertainty about his position, which will invariably affect the provincial bureaucracy's functionality. The process of removing the Chief Secretary should have commenced from the Federation, which has not occurred thus far. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is already grappling with tensions; the Election Commission removed the entire caretaker cabinet on political grounds, and now the Chief Secretary is facing the same fate. It's worth noting that Nadeem Aslam Chaudhry was appointed during the PDM regime, which might explain his replacement.

On the other hand, the province's financial woes continue to escalate rather than abate. The caretaker Chief Minister has penned around a dozen letters to the federal government, and now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Chief Minister, Muhammad Azam Khan, has once again written to Prime Minister Anwarul Haq Kakar to address the province's financial crisis. In his letter, Mohammad Azam Khan emphasized that the solution to militancy, poverty, underdevelopment, illiteracy, lack of infrastructure, and other issues hinges on revitalizing economic activities in the province. If the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is provided its rightful share under various constitutional headings, the dire financial situation can be alleviated, and immense suffering can be mitigated.

Senior journalist Shahab Uddin asserts that if there were any value in writing letters, the caretaker Chief Minister wouldn't need to send so many. Azam Khan is merely asserting his presence by petitioning for his rights. The rest of the federation neither pays nor anticipates doing so. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa doesn't seem to belong to anyone. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari managed to secure 10 billion rupees from the federal government for Sindh with just a single ultimatum, yet there's no one to advocate for the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In the past, the advisor to the caretaker Chief Minister, Himayatullah Khan, would travel to Islamabad and set up camp after writing a letter. However, Azam Khan Sahib is confined to Peshawar, so why would the federal leadership concede the province's rights?