Editorial: Transfer Posting in Public Interest

On 2nd March, Government of Balochistan Transferred Noor-ul-Haq Baloch from the position of Secretary Health, in ‘Public Interest’. Noor Baloch had served in the position for just over a year and did a great job. However it was the public interest that he had to be shown the door out from Health department.
Transfer and posting are a routine practice but there should be a logical and rationale behind them which is clearly missing. There is a provision in government rules which allows transfer and posting in so-called public interest. This provision is abused by the government and this has been the case in the transfer of Noor Baloch.
Noor Baloch was very active as Health Secretary. He used to take notice of even minor issues reported on social media. He was also working on different health reforms including making the hospitals and health institutes autonomous so that they can perform better. He also managed to work well under the political pressure coming from National Party who has a lot of vested interests in this department. Transferring Noor Baloch from the Health department tantamount to disrupting the process of Health reforms and it’s a really condemnable act on the part of provincial government.
Regardless of the caliber of the replacement of Noor Baloch, the process of Health reforms will abruptly stop. All the gains made in last year or so will be lost and the worst part is that all of this happened due to a decision made in Public interest.
This has not been the first instance where a competent government servant has been transferred by abusing the Public Interest provision. Last year Aziz Jamali also had to face the same the problem. Mr. Jamali had done a commendable job as Project Director of Housing Reconstruction Awaran (HRA). He designed the project and made successful the experiment of empowering the people of Awaran to build their homes. He earned the displeasure of political bosses and he was also showed the door out in the name of public interest.
On the other hand there are certain government officers who have occupied some positions for years. No one transfers them because they know the art of pleasing their political bosses. What they do to please their bosses can’t be stated here due to its unethical nature. The provision of Public interest is never used against such officers.
It’s unfortunate to say that there are only handful officers in Provincial government who are competent and are sincere with their jobs. Such officers need to be supported by government and legislators because they are must for making the system running. However, it’s the other way round and they are the ones who suffer due to being competent and sincere with their jobs rather than being sincere with the political boss’s vested interests.
In the best interests of people of Balochistan, transfer or posting decision should be made on merit. There should be objective criteria which should be used for this purpose. Those officers who are really making a difference should be supported not only by government but also by the vibrant and emerging civil society in Balochistan. The so-called Public Interest provision should be amended and the political bosses should not have complete authority to displace sincere officers from important jobs.
Balochistan Voices
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Adnan Aamir is founder and Editor of Balochistan Voices. He also works as an independent journalist covering politics, economy, and development. He is Digital Security Fellow of Reporters Without Borders 2019. He has also completed Chevening South Asian Journalism fellowship from the University of Westminster in 2018.