LAHORE - The newly-elected Punjab Ch Parvez Elahi seems determined to hunt down bureaucrats who had been active against the PTI and PML-Q leadership and the workers in the last three months on behest of the ex-chief minister Hamza Shehbaz Sharif.

Sources in the two parties confided to The Nation that the names of high-ranking officials who have been part of the political witch hunt against the PTI have been identified and they would be punished for their illegal actions.

A retired bureaucrat, GM Skindar who served as Principal Secretary to Ch Parvez Elahi in his first tenure as chief minister, has been tasked to hunt the pro-PML-N officers and recommend their replacements, said the sources.

Speaking to The Nation, senior PML-Q leader Senator Kamil Ali Agha said: “We had a commitment and understanding with the PTI over the issue of officers who misused their power acting on the directions of their political bosses. Both parties are of the opinion that the officials who took the law into their hands should be brought to justice. This will set a good precedent for the future, so that no other official dares to misuse his authority against the citizen”.

As soon as Parvez Elahi took oath as the Chief Minister of Punjab, important appointments and transfers started to take place immediately. In this regard, the most important appointment is that of Mohmmad Khan Bhatti, who was made the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister of Punjab with immediate effect. This urgency indicates that the newly-elected Punjab government is in the mood of making pro-PML-N officials pay for their actions.

Both PTI and the PML-Q have been raising concern over the conduct of the officers, especially the chief secretary and the IGP during the assembly sessions held to elect the chief minister and during the PTI long march on May 25. Parvez Elahi had strongly reacted to police entry in Punjab Assembly on April 16 and had also warned the two officers of severe consequences. Later, on the occasion of presentation of the provincial budget, he had desired the two officers to be present in the official gallery so that the PTI, PML-Q members could grill them for their actions. Parvez Elahi had earlier also indicated that when he comes to power, he will take strict action against the IG Punjab, chief secretary and other high-ranking officials and will punish them according to law.

Speaking to The Nation, PTI senior leader Andleeb Abbas said that officers should have refused to obey illegal orders of the previous government. “This matter is not that of revenge, but it’s a matter of law and civil rights”, she maintained. Andleeb went on to say that the police and Punjab administration played the role of PML-N’s personal servants as they entered people’s houses in the middle of the night and intimidated the women.

“The civil servants are not the personal servants of any government but they are the servants of the people and they should stay within their limits and work according to the law and should not act on someone’s direction”, she averred.   A senior officer who spoke on condition of anonymity, however, said that notwithstanding the Punjab government’s intentions, it won’t be practically possible to punish the officers. “At the most, they could be sent back to the federal government and or made OSD.