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August 11, 2019

Bureaucrat called back as Punjab local govt secretary

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August 11, 2019

ISLAMABAD: A senior bureaucrat has been brought back as secretary of the local government of Punjab less than a month after he was transferred, as a two-member committee formed by Prime Minister Imran Khan concluded that the officer was unjustly shifted.

Capt. (R) Saif Anjum was made secretary irrigation department after he was moved from the local government, which is politically and administratively the most important department, as his minister in charge wanted him to be transferred, an informed official told The News. He said the matter came to the notice of the prime minister, who asked his close aides Shehzad Arbab and Azam Khan to investigate the matter.

After their probe, including a briefing given by Saif Anjum in which he spoke against his minister, they came to the conclusion that the officer was unfairly removed as the local government secretary, the official said, adding that after some three weeks, he was brought back. The prime minister agreed with the findings. According to the official, when Saif Anjum was moved away, Irrigation Secretary Javed Qazi was given his position. After his restoration, Javed Qazi has gone back as the irrigation secretary. The official said Saif Anjum has been resisting politicization of the department and highlighting delivery, accountability and administrative imperatives.

After Aleem Khan was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) some months back, he resigned as the local bodies minister. His portfolio was assigned to Law Minister Basharat Raja as additional charge.

The official said in light of the recommendations of the premier-constituted two-member committee, the additional charge of the local government was taken from Basharat Raja.

This was done in the cabinet reshuffle last month. Since then, the local government portfolio has not been allotted to anyone.

Similarly, the information ministry is also being looked after by Minister for Commerce, Industries and Investment Department Mian Aslam Iqbal after Samsam Bokhari was moved to the Consolidation of Holdings Department.

Basharat Raja became associated with the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) after it was carved out of PML-Nawaz during early days of Pervez Musharraf’s rule. However, he contested the 2018 general elections from Rawalpindi on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) ticket as per the adjustments between the two parties.

Saif Anjum, who is the batch-mate of an influential figure, is known as a capable and bright bureaucrat.

The irrigation and local government are considered two key departments to handle flooding in rivers and urban areas during the monsoon. Their secretaries were transferred twice in three weeks during this season.

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