People benefit when political leadership, bureaucracy work in tandem: Gilani

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday said people can reap benefits of government’s policies only, if political leadership and civil bureaucracy work in tandem.

Addressing a dinner hosted by federal secretaries and civil servants in honour of the Prime Minister, Gilani said, “by ensuring transparency in our actions and making merit based decisions, we will not only bring efficiency in service delivery, but also lay a foundation for economic growth which is so vital to our progress.”

“I believe that good governance is also good politics”.

Gilani acknowledged the vital role played by the civil bureaucracy in translating the political vision of the government into actions.

The civil service acts as the implementation arm of policies and laws framed by the public representatives, he said adding, “it is our responsibility to provide policy directions, it is equally imperative for you to provide correct input and then diligently implement them.”

“My government has been in office now for almost three years,” he said adding, “We have endeavoured to take the country out of the shadows of a non-democratic dispensation and introduce a culture where institutions perform their functions in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and law.”

He said, “I began by restoring dignity to the judiciary. My first announcement was the immediate release of the honourable judges from months of incarceration. We ensured that the shackles on the media, an important pillar of the state were done away with.”

The Prime Minister said media has played a vibrant role in debating national issues and bringing forth the issues facing the general public.

“We made concerted efforts to restore dignity and authority of the parliament, which represents the will of the people of Pakistan as the supreme law making forum. All key issues are discussed in the Parliament and extensively debated before reaching a decision,” he added.

The Prime Minister said, “I have consciously made it a point to attend each session of the Parliament and address important issues from the floor of the House.”

“Accountability goes along with responsibility. This is true in all fields of life,” the Prime Minister said adding, “our government has followed this principle in letter and spirit and has made the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee to dispel any impression of government’s influence on the scrutiny of public expenditure.”

“We enacted some historic legislation in the last three years, including the 18th and 19th amendments to the Constitution,” he said adding, “By doing away with the Concurrent Legislative List, and devolving functions of 18 federal ministries to the provinces, we have fulfilled our pledge of giving power to the people.”

“It is now your duty, more than anyone else to ensure that the devolution process is managed smoothly and there is no interruption in the provision of services to the people,” Gilani commented.

He said, “I have spent more than a quarter of a century in public service. From my days as Chairman of District Council, Multan to the present position as your Prime Minister, I have seen very closely the problems that are faced by our people. And I am also witness to the commitment and dedication with which our civil services respond to solve their problems. The civil services have made important contributions in addressing the challenges of economic growth, disaster management and service delivery in the social sector.”

Gilani said as the administrative arm of the government, it is expected of them to achieve and maintain highest standards of governance. Good governance is one of the key areas of the government.

“Good governance is not only the efficient management of organizations and resources, but also about humane and ethical management. I am sure that you will deliver your best in our objective of achieving good governance.”

The Prime Minister said, “these are trying times for the civil services. Every action and decision is scrutinized in detail by the public, media and the courts.”

“We are all answerable to the people for our actions. If we keep the facts correct and follow the law and the rules, we have nothing to fear. This should be the underpinning of your actions.”

Gilani said civil servants should bring up their issues in the Secretaries Committee and suggest doable solutions to the government.