Mystery shrouds new appointments of IGP, CS Punjab

LAHORE: Mystery shrouds attempts to appoint new Chief Secretary Punjab and provincial Inspector General of Police as no senior bureaucrat is ready to take up the two key jobs in Punjab.

Well placed sources privy to the developments have said that the federal government has yet been unable to find new officers to take up key jobs in Punjab.

Yousaf Naseem Khokhar, who is currently posted as the interior secretary, has declined to consider the offer of becoming the chief secretary of Punjab.

Khokhar was among the list of three people proposed by the Punjab government, to take the top bureaucrat’s seat in the province.

Apart from Khokhar, the names of Tahir Khurshid, and Abdullah were given to the federal government to take up the post of Punjab chief secretary. All three are senior bureaucrats, currently serving in the federal government.

However, sources close to these developments have said that upon learning that his name had been proposed as Punjab chief secretary, Khokhar called the Establishment Division secretary and told him that he was not interested in taking up the post.

It is learnt that Khokhar told the Establishment Division secretary that he found it beneath his dignity to be bracketed with Tahir Khursheed, one of the other contenders.

Khokhar has already served as chief secretary for more than a year during the Usman Buzdar-led government. The federal government removed him from his post in November 2019 and Azam Suleman Khan was posted as his replacement.

Tahir Khurshid served as former Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s principal secretary. He was relieved of his duties following an investigation into assets beyond means case initiated against him by the National Accountability Bureau.

Abdullah is also working as a secretary in the federal government.

Meanwhile, officials in Punjab secretariat blame Speaker Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Pervez Elahi for making the bid to transfer the sitting CS and IGP – a charge vehemently denied by the speaker.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior bureaucrat of the Punjab Civil Secretariat informed Pakistan Today that Chaudhry Pervez Elahi wanted to bring back the PTI dissident MPAs to help Chaudhry secure the slot of the Chief Minister.

It merits mention here that the PML-N has allegedly lured around 30 PTI lawmakers and have kept them at a local hotel at Lahore to ensure the win of PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz.

The said bureaucrat further claimed that while the newly appointed Governor of Punjab was being sworn in at the Governor House, Chaudhry had also directed the said officers (Chief Secretary and IG Police) before the new Governor who were present in the ceremony and both officers refused to comply.

On the other hand, a senior official of the CM House also informed that a few days ago when former Prime Minister Imran Khan was on a visit to Lahore, Chaudhry had complained to him that the Punjab’s administration was not ready to accept any kind of political order and following that complaint, it was decided to remove Chief Secretary Kamran Ali Afzal and IG Punjab Rao Sardar Ali.

The official further informed that later Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar had written a letter to the Federal Secretary Establishment and sent a summary to replace both the officers.

It is pertinent to mention here that the convening of an assembly session for the election of Chief Minister in Punjab has become a matter of controversy which will now be decided by the Lahore High Court (LHC).

Meanwhile, the opposition alliance has kept its members and dissident members of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf in different hotels in Lahore. PTI workers have also staged a protest outside the said private hotel, after which members have been transferred to other hotels.

However, in the meantime, the attempt has been made to replace the Chief Secretary and IG Punjab and the matter came to light when opposition leader Punjab and candidate of Chief Minister’s slot Hamza Shahbaz filed a petition in the LHC on Saturday in which the court was requested that the acting Chief Minister of Punjab Usman Buzdar was transferring the Chief Secretary Punjab and IG Punjab who could not do so constitutionally and he has resigned from his post. However, the LHC will decide on Monday whether Buzdar had the power to transfer the officers.

The spokesperson of the speaker, Fayyaz Ul Hassan Chohan, however, denied the allegations and said that the Speaker did not exert any pressure nor did he needed it.

“It is up to the federal government to decide whether to replace the chief secretary and the IG. There is no truth in this news. If there is a change, it will be a routine,” he added.

Shahab Omer
The writer is a member of the staff and can be reached on [email protected]

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