Commissioners may regain powers to post revenue officials

PESHAWAR: The divisional commissioners in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are likely to regain powers to post revenue officials, media learnt here on Monday.A decision to re-delegate authority to divisional commissioners to reshuffle tehsildars and naib tehsildars was expected in the next meeting of provincial cabinet, which had conditionally empowered the revenue department last year to exercise those powers, an official told Dawn .The powers to post the officials had been a contentious issue between the divisional commissioners and revenue department since the formation of the incumbent provincial government.The commissioners in the pre-devolution era used to exercise these powers, however, the revenue department got this authority after the dissolution of commissioner`s office.Again in mid-2008, the powers were re-delegated to the commissioners, when government restored their offices. The decision annoyed the high-ranking officials of the revenue department and its minister, Syed Murid Kazim.Mr Kazim, during one of the high level meetings, had complained about lack of powers to transfer and post these officers. He had pleaded for withdrawal of these powers from the commissioners and handing them over to the department again.Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti while chairing a cabinet meeting had conditionally allowed revenue department to exercise the powers for a period of one month only.It was decided that the chief minister himself would review the performance of the department and in case of unsatisfactory outcomes, the powers of reshuffling tehsildars and naib tehsildars would be withdrawn from it and handed over back to commissioners, the official said.Similarly, the chief minister had also constituted a committee with Minister for Law, Human Rights and Parliamentary Affairs Barrister Arshad Abdullah as its head to look into the matter and submit recommendations in this regard.

The committee had also put its weight behind the commissioners and recommended that powers of making transfer and posting of tehsildars and naib tehsildars should remain with them, the official added.He said that recommendations of the committee and reports compiled after months of monitoring, in line with the chief minister`s directives, had been forwarded to the Chief Minister`s Secretariat. “These will be discussed in the cabinet meeting, whenever it is convened,” he said.The posting and transfer of revenue officials including patwaris, tehsildars and naib tehsildars had been highly politicised during the last one decade, the official said, adding it was the reason that commissioners were allowed to exercise those powers both in settled and tribal areas.In all the three provinces, posting and transfer of officials from grade 14 to 16 were made by the field offices just to have a mechanism of accountability at local level – Dawn