LAHORE - All rumors about the appointment of Punjab’s new chief secretary will end with the arrival of the PM from the US visit as interviews for the top slot have concluded, it is learnt.
The senior bureaucrats lobbying for the seat include Akhlaq Ahmad Tarar and Sami Saeed, federal secretaries, FBR Chairman Tariq Bajwa, Capital Development Authority Chairman Nadeem Hassan Asif and Federal Housing Secretary Naveed Akram Cheema.
A PM house official privy to the development on the issue said it was not yet clear who would occupy the coveted position of the province. It is further learnt that all of the candidates for the slot enjoy good relations with the Sharifs. Sources in the Establishment Division disclosed that the PM might finalise a different name out of the penal forwarded to him for the slot.
“There is a need to appoint a hard taskmaster who could handle issues like reorganising, restructuring and rationalising different public sector departments in the wake of new Local Government Act 2013,” said an administrative secretary. The provincial bureaucratic machinery has been involved in changing the Musharraf era’s local government system of governance, which empowers public representatives, into Zia’s magistracy system that confers more powers on the bureaucracy.
The driving seat of the province has become a musical chair with the posting of Nasir Mehmood Khosa as secretary to PM. Senior bureaucrat Javed Iqbal with the least experience of Punjab served the province for interim period and soon left after completion of his mission to conduct the elections. He was replaced by Javed Aslam.
The slot of secretary to PM fell vacant after the retirement of Nasir Mahmood Khosa who was sent to the World Bank after his retirement. Javed Aslam with a remarkable service record is considered close to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif who elevated him to the slot of the chief secretary and then he was elevated to principal secretary to the prime minister. Though close circles of Aslam said the former CS disliked any new assignment a couple of days back also and did not want to relinquish the charge of the office. Javed Aslam could not be reached for comments.
A former additional chief secretary of Punjab, on condition not to be identified, said the government should not make the top administrative slot a musical chair as with the change of chief secretary the administrative structure undergoes a massive change. He said the CS must be appointed for the period of at least three years to ensure good governance. He said the existing setup did not seem much serious in running the administrative affairs of the province in a good manner. “Whosoever assumes the CS office should be honest, hardworking and dutiful,” the ACS held, adding the new boss should be able to fight corruption, nepotism and undue political interference in the state affairs.
A federal secretary who also served in Punjab said that no one could deliver until he was given ample time to understand and serve the masses. “Naming it a bad luck for the nation, frequent transfers and postings of officers add a lot to the plight of people and the officers as well,” the secretary lamented. “A chief secretary should complete his tenure like other heads of other established institutions of the state,” he remarked. “No bureaucrat should agree to take top administrative responsibility if he is not assured of completion of his tenure and freedom of working,” he suggested to his colleagues.