ISLAMABAD - The service status of bureaucrat Ahad Cheema is hanging in balance as the Establishment Division has declined to accept his request for early retirement while his resignation is also pending before the Prime Minister for approval.

Ahad Cheema, a Grade-20 officer of the Pakistan Administrative Service, is a close confidant of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and he is considered as blue eyed of the Sharif family by his critics.

Irrespective of his close association with younger Sharif, he is believed to be a hardworking, doer and a good administrator in civil bureaucracy as he had completed several time taking projects in a very short span of time in an effective and efficient manner.

He had spent three years in the PTI government under NAB custody before being released without a conviction. He was released on bail in March 2021 but he was once again subjected to the political vendetta by initiating disciplinary proceedings against him under Efficiency and Discipline (E&D) Rules in September 2021.

Interestingly, he was exonerated by the inquiry officer in December 2021—much before the change of government but a notification in this regard was delayed to further drag him.

Later in the first week of January 2022, Cheema had approached the Establishment Division and asked to give him either an early retirement from the service or accept his resignation.

Sources inside the Establishment Division have informed that he expressed his frustration over the system for his continuous political victimisation and refused to work further.

However, after evaluating his request, it was maintained by the Establishment Division that he would not be able to take an early retirement as civil servant has to complete 25 years in the service but the total length of Cheema’s service was 21 years and 4 months when he applied for the retirement.

It is pertinent to mention here that if the government wants to forcefully send an officer on retirement, a 20 years term is mentioned in the rules but if a civil servant himself wants to leave the service, he has to complete 25 years in service, which is a clear discrepancy in the rules.

When contacted, a senior officer of the Establishment Davison confirmed that a request for early retirement made by Cheema was declined as he did not fulfil the criteria.

He, however, said that giving resignation from the service was his right but he tendered the same before the Prime Minister as he is the competent to accept or reject the resignation of Grade-20 and above government officers.

He said when his application reached Establishment Division in January this year E&D proceedings were underway against him and even his resignation could not be accepted at that time.

He added that later the officer was notified as exonerated in April 2022 after which he became entitled to leave the service but his resignation is yet to be approved by the Prime Minister.

Ahad Cheema was the head of the Lahore Development Authority during the last PML-N government. He was appointed as DG LDA in March 2012 before that he was working as Deputy Commissioner in Lahore.

Not only Cheema but his wife, a civil servant, Saima Ahad Cheema and other family members were also victimised because of Cheema’s reputation as a close confidant of Shehbaz Sharif.

Ahad Cheema had refused to become a witness against PM Shehbaz Sharif. He had completed projects including the Orange Line, Metro Lahore, Bheki Power Plant and different infrastructure of Lahore.