Bureaucracy to be depoliticized to ensure good governance: PM

APP52-14 ISLAMABAD: September 14 - Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing civil servants at PM Office. APP

ISLAMABAD, Sep 14 (APP):Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday assured to isolate the bureaucracy from political interference and asked the civil servants to support the new government in meeting grave economic challenges confronting the country.
“I am not concerned about your political affiliation, but your performance. If you deliver, I assure to stand by you,” the Prime Minister told civil servants belonging to different occupational groups, here at the PM Office.
The Prime Minister said political interference in the past had put a negative impact on the quality of bureaucracy where appointments were made by ignoring the principles of merit.
He said Pakistan could become a destination of investment and tourist attraction within two years provided its governance system was mended.
“Coming out of the financial debt trap and bringing change in the colonial mindset of ruling elite is important to address challenges,” he said, adding that it was important for bureaucracy to implement the policies of new government in true letter and spirit.
Imran Khan pointed that the country was facing a huge debt trap of Rs30 trillion that had swelled from six trillion rupees in a decade. He said the previous government borrowed loans to start projects such as Orange Line project that regularly require huge financial input.
He said immediate steps needed to be taken to come out of the classic debt trap and quoted the verse of Holy Quran which points that the Allah Almighty does not change the condition of a nation, which does not amend itself.
“We are at crossroads. The government has been even left with no money to run its day to day affairs,” the Prime Minister said and pointed that now it was time to change the mindset of the ruling elite to address the new challenges.
He said the civil servants need to understand that they were here to serve the masses and not to impress them with their power and authority, as was done by the British rulers in the Indian subcontinent.
He said the civil service can only change when it starts to think several times before spending even a penny of public funds. “Think of the 43% of the children with stunted growth and the 25 million children without access to schools” he added.
He said the task force on civil service reform needs to bring about world class reforms in Pakistan so that the country could compete in a knowledge economy.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said the third world economies because of their rampant corruption could not improve, however the western democracies were clean, because their institutions were strong.
He said he was cognizant of the concerns of the civil service and had asked the NAB chairman to ensure that no bureaucrats were intimidated or harassed. He said even if the NAB was conducting any inquiry, it should proceed discreetly without humiliating any one.
He asked the civil service officers not to be wary of taking chances. “Everyone makes mistakes, I also do, but you should be clear that there should be no corruption of any sort.”
Imran Khan mentioned the reforms in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police, which he said, had emerged as a professional force with no political pressure and was allowed to function as a professional entity, with a focus on merit and merit alone. He vowed to emulate the working at police in other provinces.
Referring to the emoluments of the bureaucrats, Imran Khan said once the officers had enough money to meet their needs without problems however said the situation had changed now.
He assured that once the country’s financial situation improved, the salary structure of civil servants would also get a review.