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Mystifying dereliction.

That a streamlined fully functional administrative machinery is the sine qua non of a delivering governance is the perceived wisdom, universally acknowledged worldwide and unfailingly practised by sensible regimes. And it really is bamboozling that even as the incumbent ruling hierarchy in Islamabad has been in the saddle now for over a year, it is as yet even to fix the nuts and bolts of the administrative leviathan under its command to make it fully functional and result-yielding administrative tool. This is all the more perplexing as this ruling hierarchy is led by a prime minister who earlier had had two stints in this commanding post, in addition to his years-long experience of administering the country's most populous and large province of Punjab, first as its finance minister and then as its chief minister.

Given this, it is astonishing that on his watch the bureaucratic behemoth should become such a rudderless ship adrift to no set direction or no fixed destination. On display is visibly a vexatious administrative chaos and disorder. Look to any direction, and in sight is only disconcerting administrative disarray, a wobbling bureaucracy living on ad-hocery for the most part, and chugging on creakily. Scores of key top positions in key departments, offices and autonomous bodies are amazingly as yet lying vacant, with the hierarchy just sitting pretty, showing no concern or worry over this intrinsically disastrous state of affairs is having on the overall efficacy and effectiveness of its governance. Indeed, it doesn't seem to be any worried about the blow this dereliction is dealing to its own image.

Had indeed it given a bit of serious thought to tone up the administrative machinery and then leave it to operate in line with the law, rules and regulations, it would have spared itself of many a trouble that has now become a millstone around its neck unshakably. Leave alone bigger things like appointments to the long-vacant top positions in the state utility services, which has unarguably ripped devastatingly into their operations.

Had it not messed up the posting of chairman of the autonomous Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority and had it let this regulator to act in the sizzling issues of a private channel first implicating implausibly a defence state institution in the murder attempt on its senior anchor and then telecasting a blasphemous programme, probably the authority would have come out on its own with actions in accord with the hierarchy's not-so-veiled dearly-held wishes.

But with its collapse on this count, it stands badly mired and besmirched. While the defence ministry's reference was still under the processing of this regulatory authority, the prime minister himself pre-empted its action by stating in a media talk in London that no channel would be shut down. With this, he not only hurt the credibility of the regulator but his own as well. After all, he could not be a law unto himself in any event; nor could he arrogate to himself the role of an autonomous body with a defined charter of its functions and duties.

And now he, undesirably, stands fully exposed as a partisan, whereas he was expected to be above board, wholly neutral leaving a lawful authority to decide the issue in the light of its best judgment. Indeed, the hierarchy would have been spared of all the troubles that it has now been entangled with its own folly of openly becoming a party where it should have not have been at all in the public view.

And it would have avoided the follies with which it is compounding its initial foolhardiness to its utter disgrace in the public eye. Whatever posturing the information minister may now take, he with his unthought foray to Dubai and meeting with the owner of the erring media channel is not only reinforcing the strong public perceptions of the ruling hierarchy's soft corner for this private institution even at the cost of a key state institution. It has sowed seeds of grave suspicions and doubts about the nature of the ruling hierarchy's relationship with the faltering media channel.

The tongues have begun wagging feverishly and the spicy stories doing the rounds of the grapevine are decidedly no good for the hierarchy. More so, when with its own shenanigans it has also made the posting of Pakistan cricket control board's chief such a contentious matter that it is now in great dispute at the judicial forums. And the people are talking. They are viewing askance at its patently favourite with a lot of suspicion when that media celebrity is being constantly assailed by a political leader over these days as a co-conspirator of an alleged conspiracy to rig the May last election.

Certainly, it is high time that this hierarchy realises the import of a streamlined administrative machinery to deliver what it had promised to the electorate during the hustings and moves to build it up sincerely and honestly. And it also is the time for it to understand that in administration, favouritism could be as lethal and as annihilative, if not more, as are nepotism and cronyism. In its own interests, if not the nation's and the country's, it must start moving to this direction sooner than later.
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Publication:Frontier Post (Peshawar, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:May 23, 2014
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