ISLAMABAD - The federal government is considering to appoint new chairman of the National Highway Authority.

At present, a Grade-22 officer of Pakistan Administrative Service Capt (Retd) Khurram Agha is holding dual charge of the Chairman NHA and the Federal Secretary Ministry of Communications and Postal Services.

Agha was initially appointed as Chairman NHA in March 2021 but few months ago he was given the charge of Federal Secretary Communications as well.

According to the sources, the government has now decided to appoint a regular chairman of the road authority for the smooth flow of its affairs and multiple names remained under consideration in the last few days.

The names considered for the position include Grade-21 officers of Pakistan Administrative Services Amir Ali Ahmed, Capt (Retd) Muhammad Mahmood and a Grade-20 officer of NHA Arbab Ali Dhakan.

Amir Ali Ahmed was recently directed to report in the Establishment Division from the position of the Chief Commissioner Islamabad while the last high profile posting of Capt (Retd) Muhammad Mahmood was Commissioner Rawalpindi from where he was removed by the previous government on the alleged corruption allegations in Ring Road scam.

On the other side, Arbab Ali Dhakan is a Grade-20 officer of NHA presently posted as Member Engineering Coordination of the road authority.

Sources said that the Prime Minister Office wanted to appoint a career officer and aforementioned names were under consideration but chances for Capt (Retd) Muhammad Mahmood to be appointed as new chairman NHA were bright.

However, a reliable source told this scribe that Federal Minister for Communications and Postal Services Maulana Asad Mehmood wanted to appoint a senior officer of NHA on the post of Chairman NHA instead of a career officer.  Initially, three names of NHA members Arbab Ali Dhakan, Fazal Nawab Khattak and Shahid Ahsan were considered at ministry level but later two were dropped as there were inquiries pending against them at different forums and Dhakan left as sole runner in the race.

It is pertinent to mention here that the office of the Chairman NHA is mostly occupied by the officers of the Pakistan Administrative Service or the officers belonging to the engineering side of the armed forces.

However, Arbab Ali Dhakan is considered a submissive and hardworking officer of the road authority having Sindhi origin, who is fully synced with the working of NHA. He has been holding the charge of Member Engineering Coordination for the last couple of years.

The post of the Member Engineering Coordination is itself considered as an impotent one because the officers deputed on it are directly responsible to execute all maintenance and construction works.

“Appointment of Arbab Ali Dhakan would be helpful to speed up the projects and to resolve outstanding issues as he knows all technical things very well,” a senior officer of the authority said.