The PCS and IRS officer community is currently experiencing a significant degree of unrest due to recent administrative actions that have led to the reassignment of several officers to the Admin Pool without clear criteria. This move has sparked widespread resentment among the officers, who are concerned about the lack of transparency and the potential damage to their reputations caused by what they perceive as a media trial.

Ashfaq Qureshi, a PCS officer who was recently awarded the Sitara-e-Imtiaz for his crucial role in aiding Pakistan’s exit from the grey list, has been unexpectedly moved to the Admin Pool. This decision has raised questions, especially given his recent accolades and contributions.

Similarly, Abdul Rauf, a PCS officer with a clean service record, has not been assigned an active post in the last five years and is now also placed in the Admin Pool. The situation is akin to that of Mukarram Jah Ansari, who was responsible for the significant restructuring of the FBR but has since been reassigned to the Admin Pool.

Other officers like Uqaily and Mirza Mubashir Baig, known for their honesty and competence, have already been sidelined from active posts for extended periods. Muhammad Saleem, recognized for his spotless career and strong administrative capabilities, has been removed from his position following a report by A.D Khawaja, which implicated the Chief Collector of Baluchistan in smuggling activities. Consequently, Muhammad Saleem was sent to the Admin Pool, and Abdul Qadir Memon was moved from his role as Chief Collector.

The report also mentioned Ms. Shah Bano, who has been in inactive positions since 2015, and Dr. Fareed Iqbal Qureshi, a Member Customs Operation who investigated several corruption cases and recommended the reassignment of seven inspectors to the Admin Pool. During the caretaker government, Qureshi and Memon took decisive action against several officers, including Collector Muhammad Ismail, Deputy Collector Shah Faisal, and Collector Taftan Naveed Iqbal, for their involvement in smuggling. However, recommendations for the transfer of the aforementioned officers were disregarded during the caretaker government.

Despite the Customs department being the largest revenue generator for the country and the FBR achieving all its targets, the anti-smuggling powers granted to 15 agencies, including the Islamabad Police, have been criticized for extorting traders rather than curbing smuggling.

The officers believe that the recent administrative decisions are designed to sideline any officer who shows independence of thought or the courage to dissent, ahead of the potential sale of Pakistani assets to international buyers at reduced prices. This has sent a shockwave through the entire bureaucracy, compelling officers to conform without question.

In response to these developments, the officers have started to coordinate and plan to issue a press release on Monday. They assert that the entire exercise is aimed at gaining political mileage and have no intention of calling for a strike or protest. They recall the tenure of Pervez Musharraf when over a thousand FBR officers were terminated, only to be reinstated by the courts due to a lack of evidence of corruption. The officers are determined to clear their names and maintain their professional integrity in the upcoming press release.