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March 18, 2008
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Several bureaucrats in race to become CS

National

March 18, 2008

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LAHORE

BUREAUCRATS are in the run for the position of Punjab chief secretary, like some are in the race for the prime ministerial slot at the Centre. Some bureaucrats have contacted the leadership of the newly elected parties, particularly the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, which will form a government in the largest province of the country.

Since the announcement of the result of 2008 general election, various names are doing rounds for the post of Punjab chief secretary. The latest addition to the list of names of those aspiring for the coveted slot is Ismail Qureshi, presently working posted as a federal secretary. He, too, has approached the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leadership for this lucrative post. He served as the Punjab health secretary during the last tenure of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government.

It is learnt that federal secretaries Zafar Mahmood, Khushnood Lashari and Dr Shahzad Qaiser are also vying for the slot and are in touch with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leadership through various channels.

Khushnood was posted as the Punjab additional chief secretary during the tenure of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-eAzam government whereas Kamran Rasool served as the Punjab chief secretary. Khushnood was transferred and posted as member Board of Revnue (BoR) after Salman Siddique was posted as the Punjab CS as he (Khushnood) was in Kamran’s lobby. Later, he was also transferred from the BoR and is currently posted as the federal health secretary.

He had also served on several positions such as the Punjab education secretary, commissioner and deputy commissioner. Dr Shahzad Qaiser, presently posted as the federal tourism secretary, was posted as an additional secretary at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat during the tenure of the PML-Q government. He had also served as the Punjab education secretary and the additional secretary of the Punjab Chief Minister’s Secretariat during the tenure of the

Nawaz Sharif government.

Similarly, Zafar Mahmood who is presently posted as a federal secretary served as the education secretary when Shahbaz Sharif was the chief minister of Punjab.

It is also learnt that incumbent CS Salman Siddique is also trying to retain his present position and he has activated his friends who are closed to the PML-N leadership. Suleman Siddique had also served as the irrigation secretary during the tenure of the PML-N government. Moreover, P&D Chairman Suleman Ghani has also called on Shahbaz. He is also interested in retaining his present assignment.

Some bureaucratic circles are of the view that it was not necessary that those who are vying for the slot would eventually be posted as the chief secretary. “The new rulers may appoint a DMG officer who will be their confidant and was sidelined by the previous rulers.

While all the persons who are apparently in the run worked on important positions during the tenure of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-eAzam government,” they said. Every new government makes massive reshuffles and posts its confidants on important slots such as chief secretary, additional chief secretary, home secretary, secretary services, health secretary, education secretary, finance secretary, secretary local government, secretary IC, P&D chairman, senior member of Board of Revenue and others. It is likely that the incumbent administrative secretaries and heads of these departments will be replaced by the new government.

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