Sword still hangs above Ahad Cheema’s head | Pakistan Today

Sword still hangs above Ahad Cheema’s head

Sword of Damocles is still hanging on District Coordination Officer Lahore Ahad Cheema and he is likely to be removed soon despite Punjab Assembly’s prompt legislation to remove the restriction on elevation of a lower grade officer for higher post. Under the legislation, government is empowered to post Grade 18 officer on Grade 20 (DCO position). However, interestingly, the move will not be retrospective, implying that promotion on grade 20 (for DCO position) in past will gain legal validity and the Lahore DCO and others will fall in the danger zone. Ahad Cheema, a Grade 18 office, was posted on Grade 20 for Lahore DCO slot last year and hence cannot benefit from the legislation.
“He is Punjab CM Punjab Shahbaz Sharif’s favourite and the legislation was an attempt to provide him a cover against expected dismissal in a desperate bid to retain him in the Lahore, PML-N stronghold, till general elections,” sources in CDGL said. Legislation was also inevitable as Judicial Commission in BISE also questioned the posting of Cheema as DCO.
Punjab government Spokesman Pervaiz Rashid told Pakistan today that legislation was not Cheema-specific. “It is not a case of nepotism as Cheema is not a relative of Sharifs or of any PML-N leader. It is purely an administrative step to run the system properly,” he added.
Chief executive of the province has the authority to post a lower grade official who is doing well on higher slot to improve the administration, he added. “If there was fault in system in past, we corrected it,” he added. However, Rashid said if the legislation was challenged in court, the government would accept it whole heartedly. In the last week of December, 2011, Punjab government moved a summary to the Punjab Assembly pleading to de-link grade restriction with the office of the District Coordination Officer (DCO). Amid strong opposition from the Opposition benches, the Punjab Assembly on December 28 approved six amendments in Punjab Local Government Ordinance (PLGO) 2001, including waiving off the condition regarding appointment of grade-20 officer as district coordination officer. On the floor of the house, Provincial Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah said the restriction of appointment of an officer in basic scale 20 as DCO was causing administrative problems to the government, as not many competent officers in grade 20 were available to be posted as DCO. He said government also wanted to post more PCS officers as DCO who are mostly in grade 19 and 18. Currently, he added, 13 PCS officers in grade 19 were already working as DCO in different Punjab districts.
However, legal wizards believed that legislation would prove to be exercise in futility as it could not save the incumbent Lahore DCO, especially since his appointment had been challenged in the court. Hence, bonanza will be for those to be posted on DCO level in future, they added.
Known jurist and petitioner Azhar Saddique while talking to Pakistan Today said, “Having passed the legislation, it has been officially admitted that step taken by the government in past was against the rules and legal cover was required to justify it. But, unfortunately legislation would never be applicable to posting made in past,” adding “Ahad Cheema will have to go.”
Former Supreme Court Bar Association general secretary and Human Right Committee head Qamarul Zaman Qureshi said the move would not serve the desired purpose as it would not have a retrospective effect. Branding it as mala fide step in violation of spirit of law and attempt to promote favourtism, he said there was no precedence in past to try to legalise the move of posting lower grade officer on higher post.
He firmly rejected the government’s excuse that lower grade officers were being posted on higher grade due to dearth of capable officers for said posts in bureaucratic hierarchy. “Fault lies in government which deliberately delays the promotion of officials. Since official are not promoted timely, vacuum is created. Government better to plug the gap instead of making such legislation,” he added.
Sources in CDGL disclosed that Punjab government chose a junior officer out of merit for the slot of DCO Lahore which risked the city management badly and it later proved disastrous during Dengue epidemic. Cheema made headlines during the proceeding of judicial commission, which was set up to probe into the loopholes in the computerised online system introduced during his tenure as the HEC secretary, wherein Dr Majid Naeem was placed in the top slot of IT consultant. The commission headed by a Lahore High Court judge heard all stakeholders and raised several questions as to why Cheema was placed on a post higher than his grade initially as HEC secretary and then as DCO Lahore.



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2 Comments

  1. kashif said:

    Cheema sb is a very competent officer no doubt.But bureucracy has a system of elevation and promotions.He was also unprecedently favoured by appointing as secretary higher education Punjab in 2009 when his service was actualy only 8 years.Secretary and DCO Lahore and very very senior and important positions.True that he delivered to the satisfaction of political bosses but is he the only competent officer?Many PCS/PMS officers are waiting for their promotion for long periods even a decade still they have to wait for promotion or an important posting.This discrimination is extremely heartburning for all provincial services especially PCS/PMS.DMG and their patrons should do justice and not brew frustration and hatred among the.

  2. khank said:

    my simple question is what ability or training cheena has on its credit. was he trained by British or USA Bureaucracy or by angles of God.

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