Govt rolls back PTI-era rules against under-performing bureaucrats

Govt rolls back PTI-era rules against under-performing bureaucrats
The federal government has repealed the civil service retirement rules that were introduced by the PTI in 2020, which the then-government said were aimed at improving the performance of the bureaucracy and state institutions through measures such as the forced retirement of "delinquent officials".


The previous rules entailed, among other things, the forced retirement of civil servants found guilty of corruption. It also applied on those who entered a plea bargain with the National Accountability Bureau or another investigating agency, or if they had unbecoming conduct.
A notification to repeal the rules was issued by the Establishment Division yesterday (Monday).
The notification, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, said the prime minister had repealed the rules "in the exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 25 of the Civil Servants Act, 1973 (LXXI of 1973) read with notification no. SRO120(I)/98, dated February 27, 1998".
The rules under which the previous ones have been repealed are titled Civil Servants (Directory Retirement from Service)(Repeal) Rules, 2022.
"These rules shall come into force at once and shall be deemed to have taken effect on and from commencement of the Civil Servants (Directory Retirement from Service) Rules, 2020," the notification read.
The Establishment Division issued another notification on Tuesday, also available with Dawn.com, in which all ministries and divisions were directed to inform all relevant departments and offices under their administrative control of the development for "compliance/ further necessary action".
The notification further said that "any actions taken, proceedings initiated, pending or concluded, recommendations or decisions made, orders passed or notifications issued under the repealed rules are hereby recalled and shall have no legal effect whatsoever".
It added that "no interferences shall be drawn against civil servants affected or suffered under the repealed rules solely for the reason that proceedings of directory retirement under the repealed rules were initiated or finalised".

Repealed rules
The previous rules stated that a retirement board, headed by the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) chairperson, shall be constituted to recommend retirements for grades BS-20 and above.
Similarly, a division's secretary was given the authority to direct the retirements for grades BS-17 to BS-19 and the senior joint secretary for grades BS-16 and below.
The rules also outlined the grounds for retirement, stating that no civil servant was to be recommended for retirement under the said rules unless they earned adverse remarks in three Performance Evaluation Reports (PERs) or as many average PERs, or they had been twice recommended for supersession. The civil servants could also face retirement if found guilty of corruption, entered a plea bargain or voluntary return with the National Accountability Bureau or another investigating agency, or if they had unbecoming conduct.
The rules said a civil servant against whom an order for retirement was issued shall be eligible for pension or other retirement benefits as the competent authority may direct.
A civil servant against whom an order for retirement was issued had the right of appeal or, as the case may be, review in accordance with the Civil Servants (Appeal) Rules, 1977.
According to former special assistant to the prime minister on establishment Shehzad Arbab, notices for retirement were issued to around 130 officers from when the PTI's rules came into effect to the April of this year.
"It was the first time in Pakistan that a transparent process of weeding out officers on the basis of incompetence was introduced, and [it] should have continued for the good of the civil services," he said while speaking.
He added that with the rules not in place, "every officer, once inducted in the civil service, retires at the age of 60 regardless of whether he is performing or not".