“They did not trust the honesty of their ministers but they did not blindly trust the bureaucrats. But the thing was that they knew the strengths and weaknesses of all. But the ears were a little raw.
This is the opinion of a senior bureaucrat who has worked with Shahbaz Sharif in Punjab in the past.
Now PML-N President Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has become the 23rd Prime Minister of Pakistan and has a reputation for being a tougher administrator than a politician who was established in different periods of his Chief Ministership in Punjab.
During the tenure of Shahbaz Sharif, who was the Chief Minister of Punjab twice in a row from 2008 to 2018, development work in Punjab including Lahore (including major projects like Metros, Orange Train Line) was expedited. The term ‘Shahbaz Speed’ became common and on the basis of these projects he also faced cases based on allegations of corruption. On the other hand, he was criticized for keeping Lahore as the center of attention and development funds instead of the entire province.
Despite these allegations and cases, Shahbaz Sharif still has a good reputation as a good administrator. However, according to critics of Shahbaz Sharif, there is a big difference between running the affairs of the Chief Minister of the province and the Prime Minister of the Federation.
There was a general opinion in the Punjab Chief Minister’s office regarding Shahbaz Sharif that he relied more on bureaucrats than his provincial cabinet ministers and the main reason was that as a strict administrator he wanted to get the job started. Let it happen immediately and without any hindrance from the bureaucracy.
However, now in the federation, with major issues like defense, foreign affairs, national economy, power and water, Shahbaz Sharif’s cabinet includes members of his own party (who are well aware of Shahbaz Sharif’s style of governing) and members of allied parties. It will not be easy for them to get angry because the present coalition government is standing on the side of the allies and the tenure of the government is not clear.
Before going into the details of the current situation, it is important to know what was the style of governance of Shahbaz Sharif in Punjab?
“We used to get tired, Shahbaz Sharif did not get tired”
Shahbaz Sharif visited the Islamabad Metro project early in the morning, the day after he was sworn in as Prime Minister. In Punjab, this habit (surprise visits to projects under construction) has been a feature of Shahbaz Sharif’s Chief Ministership.
A senior bureaucrat who has worked with Shahbaz Sharif in the past in Punjab has spoken to the BBC on condition of anonymity. He said that Shahbaz Sharif as the Chief Minister was accustomed to work at a very fast pace.
“Usually he would get up at six in the morning, take a cup of coffee and sit in the car and go out for a briefing or a tour of some project.