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November 2, 2018

PS to PM follows in the footsteps of his predecessor

November 2, 2018

ISLAMABAD : Following in the footsteps of his predecessor Fawad Hassan Fawad, incumbent Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Azam Khan left the meeting of the high-powered promotion board chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan when his own promotion to grade 22 came under discussion.

Establishment Secretary Dr Ijaz Munir confirmed this to The News when contacted and said Azam Khan detached himself from the deliberations of the promotion board when his case was taken up. When the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif had held a similar board meeting discussing such promotions including that of Fawad Hassan, his principal secretary had not attended it. Fawad Hassan, now in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau, was also not part of the meeting when the board had taken into consideration the promotion of the officers belonging to his batch.

The board that met on Monday with the prime minister in the chair could not finalise the promotions of officials from grade 21 to pay scale 22 and will hold another session in a couple of days to decide about the elevations to full up over a dozen vacancies with fresh promotions, Dr Ijaz Munir said.

Another informed source told this correspondent that it was decided that the prime minister’s office will do further homework on the matter of promotions to arrive at a decision in the board meeting. He said that as usual there was a long list of bureaucrats that was considered by the board. He said that the board held the meeting as ordered by the Supreme Court. The recent apex court judgment has been kept in view, he added.

The source said that the list also included the officers, belonging to the 17th Common Training Programme (CTP) to which Azam Khan belongs. However, the principal secretary was part of the meeting when their cases were deliberated, the source said, adding that some aspirants also hailed from the 16th CTP.

The 16th CTP was the last batch that was earlier considered for promotion. Of it, three officers had been promoted. The board also took up the left-over cases for promotion.

The source said that before the board session a working paper was usually prepared by the establishment division incorporating all the cases that should be taken up. The list is usually quite long.

Azam Khan was the topper of the 17th CTP and was made the principal secretary to Imran Khan immediately after the later assumed office of the prime minister. This is his most important federal assignment during his career as he has previously mostly served in home province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

A senior bureaucrat said propriety demands that a senior official, whose own promotion or whose batch mates’ elevation is deliberated upon by the board should not be part of such discussions.

The names of promoted officers are generally released after the board meetings. However, this time it was not done as the deliberations were inconclusive.

To examine the cases of elevation of bureaucrats to grades 20 and 21, the central selection board will meet for four days on November 26-30. Its recommendations will be sent to the prime minister for approval. The board chaired by Imran Khan had considered on Monday promotions from grade 21 to grade 22.