LAHORE - Punjab bureaucracy has been in need of suitable civil servants for key slots.

Sources in the Punjab government told this scribe that some significant slots including PST Chairman, Ombudsperson, secretaries to the Commerce and Industries, Housing and Urban Development, DCOs of Vehari and Mianwali, and Director Generals to Local Government, Punjab Food Authority and many more are lying vacant.

The reason for not posting officers on such slots is said to be unavailability of ‘suitable’ officers. In pursuit of filling in these slots, the officers of Punjab establishment are burning in self-agony and frustration.

The office of the Punjab Service Tribunal (PST) has been running on stopgap arrangement as a PST senior member Session Judge Hafeezullah Khan has been entrusted with the duties of chairmanship. The backlog of pending cases in the PST has reached 8,000.

The PST hears government servants’ petitions against the injustice of authorities and appeals regarding dismissal from service; stoppage of increments; seniority disputes, award of penalties; forfeit of service etc.

The office of Punjab Ombudsperson has been lying vacant since the retirement of last office bearer Dr Mira Phailbus in February this year. The office is meant for protection of women against harassment at workplace.

Secretary Industries, another seat being run on look-after charge by the Secretary Livestock and Dairy Development Nasim Sadiq. The Industries department usually is tasked to handling the Punjab government’s initiative to control prices, action against hoarders and other mafias that manipulate commodities.

The Punjab Food Authority, a newly statutory body established to rein in food mafia and ensure food security is working without a Director General that too affects the authority’s writ.

The empty slots of DCOs of Vehari and Mianwali also another question mark on good governance as the offices were only place to resolve public issues besides revenue matters. Many development schemes, educational and health care activities in the districts are affected as the district government heads are absent.

An official of the Punjab government seeking anonymity reveals that there are many OSDs of grade 17 and above are awaiting postings in the province.

The apex court decision in Anita Turab case directs the federal as well as the provincial governments not to post OSDs but to no avail.

The heads surely enhance the efficiency of the government departments otherwise poor governance becomes the fate, said the officer, adding that the political postings also add to the backlogs of cases.