Civil servants appointed to head departments cannot be blackmailed to do bad things by their political bosses provided they have clean conscience and true understanding of their powers and responsibilities. Rules of Business and other laws clearly bestow financial and administrative powers on the civil servant heading a ministry or department. The law does not oblige him to do the illegal bidding of his political boss, provided he does not care about transfer and knows to remain legally correct to get judicial vindication if the political boss tries to victimize him. If any proof of this assertion is needed the example of the new deputy commissioner of Chitral is a good example.
Chitral’s new Deputy Commissioner brings with him fair name earned as deputy commissioner in down country. His fearless actions to improve things, especially removal of encroachments, made him a household name in the country. Other civil servants felt pressure to catch up with the role model set by the rare breed which is fast disappearing from this land, which as an Islamic Republic was supposed to be a role model for the rest of the world. Soon after assuming his position in Chitral he initiated actions for clean governance, the results of which are already becoming visible. What could not be done by others in decades have suddenly become possible. The salutary effect on other departments in Chitral can be seen in the form of improved attendance and responsiveness. The culture of impunity is slowly giving way to caution. Hopefully deterrence would also be created to raise the price of corruption.
Myself being a retired civil servant from 7th Common and now advocate of good causes it gives me hope that some of the issues advocated by me would at last be addressed. These include implementation of laws to ensure healthy food, clean physical environment, removal of encroachments on state/community lands, protection of rivers from pollutions and encroachments and effective anti-corruption regime through activating the existing institutions. The encroachments on common lands in upcountry have led to massive deforestation, land soil erosion and degradation leading to frequent flooding and destruction. The improper payment of compensation to the affected has given birth to another kind of corruption. Damages are self-inflicted to manufacture losses to get entitlement for compensation, which is painful for self-respecting Chitralis. It is unfortunate that some influential people in Chitral are said to be unhappy with the deputy commissioner to protect their vested interests. The people of Chitral will not forgive its leaders if they fail to retain this deputy commissioner for at least three years to enable him to complete the good work that he has started.
I wonder as to whether the deputy commissioner can play role to make NGOs accountable and ensure legal compliance on their part. These entities are indispensable part of the new world order and bring huge funds for development. Local Government Act empowers councils to oversee these NGOs, but the ill-informed and at times illiterate, councilors do not know how to do it or they choose to change sides. Here the deputy commissioner can lead and encourage the local councils to act. Another area is education where simple people are being fleeced. Most of our technical institutions are affiliated with Trade Board for computer education but now some agencies are refusing to accept its diplomas. The same had been done in respect of AIOU certificates and degrees earlier on. It is also said that Abdul Wali Khan University is operating in Chitral without the approval of SBBU, which is the University of Jurisdiction. All these are government institutions and there is no way for the people to know that these have problems of legality or quality. It is not fair to punish students for the failure of the government. The deputy commissioner should look into these cases and seek government action to clarify the confused situation and save the students and their parents who have spent huge sums of money and time for a piece of paper now worth nothing but for no fault of their own. We wish the deputy commissioner Godspeed and pray for his success. As a grateful nation we will remember and recall his good work.