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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Fact-check: ECP’s Official Removals in Sindh and Punjab – Dissecting the Claims

Pakistani politician Khursheed Ahmed Shah claimed that the Election Commission of Pakistan has selectively transferred and dismissed government employees from the Sindh province before the national elections, without doing the same in the provinces of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

This assertion is false. Senior Pakistan Peoples Party leader Khursheed A. Shah remarked, “I have a complaint with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP),” on September 22 in an interview with Dawn TV. “Only officers in Sindh are being transferred, but none from Punjab or Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.” Perhaps they removed one or two officers from those provinces. However, what about the key officials?

Shah went on to say that the Commission dismissed two chief secretaries and three inspector generals of police from Sindh after the provincial parliament was dissolved, and a caretaker administration was installed on August 17 to prepare for the general election. This assertion is untrue. So far this year, the Election Commission of Pakistan has approved the transfers of several government officials in Punjab. A list of 44 Basic Pay Scales (BPS) 20 and 21 officials who were transferred in the province between January 30 and October 17 was provided to Geo Fact Check by Zaid Bin Maqsood, the secretary of Punjab’s Services and General Administration Department (S&GAD), responsible for the transfer, posting, and promotion of public officials.

The document also specifies the approval date by the Commission for the transfer of government department secretaries. Additionally, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued two letters on March 10 and September 8 to all provinces, prohibiting the transfer or removal of secretaries, heads of departments, BSP-20 officers, commissioners, deputy commissioners, assistant commissioners, and senior police officials in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa initially, and later in Sindh and Balochistan, as well as other government departments, without obtaining ECP approval. However, it allowed caretaker governments and department heads to handle transfers of officers below the rank of BSP-19 independently without requiring consent from the electoral body.

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