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February 23, 2020

Officials’ shuffle has no link with First Lady’s shrine visit: Auqaf

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February 23, 2020

PAKPATTAN: A storm of sorts has been kicked up following denial of protocol to the First Lady Bushra Bibi, resulting in transfer of 175 officials of police and the Auqaf Department.

The First Lady visited the Pakpattan Shrine of Baba Farid-ud-Din Ganj Shakar (RA) without protocol and the gate to the most revered ‘Bahishti Darawaza’ was not opened for her on Thursday. The First Lady was accompanied by her personal security and the ‘Bahishti Darawaza’ remained locked despite the insistence of her staff. The First Lady had to wait for quite a long time while her staff and the associates of PTI MPA Farrukh Mumtaz Maneka pleaded with the Auqaf staff. However, insult was added to injury when PA of the district Nazim, Mian Abdul Ghaffar Kuliya, brought some guests of the Nazim who were allowed inside the outer perimeters of the ‘Bahishti Darawaza’, which was also denied to the Bushra Bibi.

While this all was happening, the First Lady patiently paid her respects from outside the perimeter area. Kuliya told newsmen that he was not aware of the First Lady’s presence in the shrine.

Following the incident, Chief Administrator Auqaf ordered to make Zonal Manager Rana Tariq Ali, District Manager Zeeshan Naseem OSDs and they were directed to report to the Auqaf head offices in Lahore. As many as 33 officers of the Auqaf Dept were also transferred.

Those transferred also included 35 police officers, including DPO Pakpattan, Inspector Shamir and one sub inspector, besides seven ASIs, four head constables, 14 constables and eight lady constables. As many as 105 personnel of the Punjab Constabulary were also transferred for the ‘outrage’.

The reason described for the large scale transfers, according to Auqaf authorities, is routine administrative and managerial issues and sources emphasized it had nothing to do with Bushra Bibi’s visit to the shrine. The Auqaf Dept sources, however, could not produce the transfer order. Ending protocol was announced as one of the main policy planks by Prime Minister Imran Khan. But the bureaucracy carried out large scale transfers in clear violation of the PM’s policy.