By Shabbir Mir
GILGIT: Lawmakers from treasury benches said the bureaucracy of the area was not subservient to the political government of Gilgit-Baltistan, saying decisions were being made by government servants.
“Let me accept it. The secretaries are more powerful than politicians,” said Deputy Speaker Jafarullah Khan, while speaking on a point of order during the G-B Assembly session on Monday. The session was chaired by Speaker Fida Muhammad Nashad.
Jafarullah added, “I am tired of telling lies everywhere that we are the decision-makers. In reality, we are not.”
The deputy speaker’s comments did not toe the line followed by representatives of mainstream political parties, who are accused of compromising for ‘national interest’ with nationalists groups in G-B.
Jafarullah said the government failed to deliver in one year due to the bureaucracy, which he accused of attempting to hamper the G-B government. He accused the bureaucracy of making backdoor appointments in government departments and that secretaries preferred their interests over merit.
He said elected members should lock the assembly hall and go home if attending the sessions could not yield any results. He maintained roads were in bad shape and no other development could be done over the year, seeing a huge development budget lapse.
On the occasion, Minister for Works Dr Muhammad Iqbal joined the chorus and blamed the bureaucracy for slowing down development. “There are efforts on the part of bureaucracy to fail our government.”
Jafarullah walked out of the house after his speech and he was followed by some members from the opposition benches. However, they were brought back to the hall after some time.
The speaker agreed with the lawmakers and suggested the issue should be discussed with the chief minister for a solution.
After Monday’s proceedings, critics said the perception — that the government in G-B was run by elected representatives after the introduction of Empowerment and Self-Governance Order, 2009 — was shattered by none other than treasury bench lawmakers.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2016.