LAHORE - The Punjab bureaucracy is afraid that the ongoing anti-government campaign may hit their doorsteps as the protesters may turn their guns on the mighty babus.

None of the bureaucrats, interviewed by this paper, wanted to be identified because of the sensitivity of the anti-government drive with familiar slogans.

Responding to a query about the growing fear among the bureaucracy about the ongoing anti-government move, a senior bureaucrat said “The age-old governance system has failed to deliver. The rising anger among the masses over the prevailing futile system has given birth to agitating mobs,” said a senior officer serving on an important post in the provincial metropolis. He said the vibrant opposition in Islamabad and Punjab had challenged the credibility of the electoral system, targeting the party running the affairs of the country and the biggest province. If PTI challenges the poor governance, the Centre would have to face the same critical situation, he said. He added despite providing Metro bus service for Lahore, the PML-N government could not satisfy the masses who thought the system was still missing. He observed the electronic media had fuelled the fire ignited by PTI chief Imran Khan who organised big shows in Karachi and Lahore.

“Any crackdown on the corrupt officers as the PTI chief claims would give birth to more fear among the bureaucracy and most of officials would be doing anything to stay out of trouble,” he said, adding the bureaucracy would never support those who wanted to reform the system. Likewise, the judiciary, the establishment, the business cartels and mafias would unite to challenge the challenging forces, he held.

A DCO, requesting anonymity, told this paper that his subordinates had time and again reminded him to be alert as the anti-government mob might hit the officials at public places. He confirmed that while visiting the flood-affected areas, he had advised the ruling party parliamentarians to remain at a distance from mobs.

If Imran Khan’s civil-disobedience call gains ground, it would enhance wrath against the ruling party. He said the morale of the security forces was already sliding after the Model Town tragic incident that claimed lives of over a dozen citizens. “It is right time to warn the lobbyists of status quo that this country was not made to become hell for the lower classes,” he asserted.

He that the governments had badly failed to collect data of the officers whose spouses or children were living abroad and who were sometimes accused of using authority to illegally transferring money abroad and purchasing property there. He said legislation on dual nationality holding civil servants was just a slogan of political regimes.

An additional secretary conditioning anonymity, said, “There is an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty as nobody is willing to do anything which may cause rage of the ruling party”. A senior officer who has been working in the federal capital for years said the corrupt politicians could not launch a crackdown against the officers with the enormous wealth amassed by them as they occupied key positions in the provinces or at the Centre. He said though there was a dire need to remove corrupt senior officials, but the current governing system in the country defied such a move. He said the officers loved their privileges and entitlement as the politicians loved politics. A stage could approach when the reformers would strike the privileged people, including civil servants, he feared, urging the ruling elite to mend its ways.

Criticising the politicians who have adopted a wait-and-see approach amid the rising anti-government campaign, he said it would have a big impact on the sinking economy of the country as well. “The policymakers, instead of focusing on construction of roads and metros, should consider construction of water reservoirs to generate cheap energy, provide relief to the destitute, he opined. Otherwise, he feared, the moving mob might punch the civil servants, judges, police and other officials of the state-run institutions. Lack of proper revenue generation and tax collection, health care, education, electoral systems and exploitation-free system would add a lot to the sufferings of the people, the officer remarked. Policymaking and implementation has often been a problem that erodes the government influence and reduces revenues, he commented. Failure to construct dams and increase in energy tariff had perturbed the entire community, he concluded.