Public, officials resent Ramazan office timings


Friday, July 20, 2012 - Lahore—The Punjab government employees and the public have resented the provincial government’s decision to observe office timings of 7 am to 1 pm during the holy month of Ramadan, terming it a counter-productive measure which needs revision.

It has been for the very first time in the administrative history of the Punjab that the government has decided to start offices so early whereas the federal government will follow timings of 8 am to 2 pm in all offices run by it.

Central President All Pakistan Clerks Association (APCA) Muhammad Afzal, while talking to APP, said that the decision reflected the autocratic mind-set of the bureaucracy which wanted to do no work and did not take any stake-holder into confidence while implementing the decision.

He said it was regrettable that a democratically elected government had introduced such a decision which was even not dared by the dictatorial regimes, adding that the Zia regime had introduced office timings of 07:30 am in the past.

Condemning the Punjab government decision, the APCA president said public would be the greatest loser of the revised office hours of 07:00 to 01:00 pm, adding that the clerks wanted the government to revise the timings from 8:00 am to 03:00 pm in the larger national and public interest.

A deputy secretary in the Higher Education department, on the condition of anonymity, said the timings were a mere gimmick of the Punjab government for cheap popularity as well as to continue its stand-off with the federal government. He said it would be practically impossible for officers and staff to reach offices so early in the morning while they would leave offices by 12:30 noon to catch route buses back home.

He said the decision may help the Punjab government to strengthen its image of ‘rebel’ but it would not serve the cause of employees and the public.

The DS said the government appeared to be unaware of the fact that the real work started by noon in the civil secretariat offices and they had to sit till dusk.

General Secretary Punjab Civil Secretariat Employees Association Azeem Bari, while talking to APP, said the government had failed to take into consideration problems of all employees while taking a decision on the office timings for Ramadan.

He said employees would be deprived of worship in the morning and other Islamic duties if the new timings were implemented by the government. “The drivers on the routes of 14 civil secretariat buses will have to leave at 4 am to complete their route”, he further said.

Professor Zafar Iqbal of Government College Railway Road said the decision was regrettable, adding that the private and the public sector universities and colleges in Punjab would follow 8:00 am to 1:00 pm timings.

A security guard in the Punjab Civil Secretariat said the BoP secretariat branch will operate from 08:30 am to 02:00 pm but the secretariat employees had been asked to report by 07:00 am, adding that it was discriminatory.

The Punjab government spokesperson said the decision had been implemented to improve efficiency and conserve energy during the holy month of Ramadan, adding that the decision had been taken after feed-back from all stake-holders.—APP

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