ISLAMABAD - Massive transfer of grade-18 officers in Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has perturbed the affected staff that complains that the reshuffle has been made without any prior notice.

The ECP intends to further transfer some 96 officers of the same cadre across the country as part of its preparation to train them in fields ahead of the general elections scheduled to be held in 2018.

The transfer of as many as 54 officers has been made in a single go. The move, official sources said, was unprecedented as such a massive transfer of officers has not been witnessed in any government department/ministry.

The ECP across the country has 150 officers of BPS-18 out of which 54 officers have been transferred in a single day as the administration intends to reshuffle the remaining staff in near future.

The District Election Commissioners (DECs) across the country or the officers stationed in ECP’s Headquarters who have stayed more than three years in same stations have to be transferred to any place in the country.

But the affected officers complain they had never expected a sudden transfer arguing the rules clearly stated that a three month prior notice should be given to an officer who is transferred to other station.

“Ordinarily 3 months notice should be given to government servants who are transferred from one station to another to enable them to plan their affairs,” one officer cited the rules of Establishment Division regretting that he had been transferred to an area notorious for deteriorating law and order situation.

They argue that the field officers should have not been replaced by the ECP as they had got enough experience in conducting elections in districts across the country. “If the transfers are meant to train officers in holding next general elections then the already trained officers should be utilised for their experience in filed,” another officer said.

However, officers serving in cadre above and below BPS-18 have been spared despite that a number of officers in the cadres have outlived their three years tenure in one station.

“We are willing to join wherever we are posted. But what is disturbing is the sudden orders of our transfer. We have to shift our families and enroll kids in schools besides arranging rented accommodation,” a disgruntled officer said.

But a spokesman for the ECP said that the officers had stayed in same location for more than 10 years arguing their transfer was essential under the rules. Moreover, he said that the officers will learn new experiences and will attain enough field experience to hold next general elections scheduled to be held in 2018.