Secretaries lobby to retain ministerial positions under PTI govt-to-be


–With a major reshuffling in bureaucracy on the cards, PTI looks to find the right officers for important ministries

ISLAMABAD: Federal secretaries, serving in important ministries, have started lobbying to retain their current ministerial portfolios under the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government-to-be, Pakistan Today has learnt.

Sources told this scribe that the secretaries are sharing all kinds of information with the expected federal ministers to safe their seats despite the fact that PTI Chairman Imran Khan is yet to officially disclose names of the cabinet members.

A major reshuffling is expected in the bureaucracy not only in the Centre but also in Punjab as PTI high-ups believe that close aides of the previous government of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) still hold positions in crucial ministries.

During the last few days, the incumbent finance secretary has extracted information from his ministry and shared it with probable finance minister Asad Umar in a bid to safeguard his own seat, sources said, adding that the information was related to the reforms of Public Sector Entities (PSEs), power sector circular debt management and other important documents from the ministry of finance.

Meanwhile, officers are enhancing their contact with former DMG officer Shahzad Arbab as chairman PTI has tasked him to find officers who can be positioned in important ministries once he comes to power, sources said, further adding that the finance secretary has also met with Arbab a few days ago to ‘please’ the former bureaucrat.

The PTI manifesto considered assigning right officers on the right jobs without any political consideration, promising tenure protection of officers, internal accountability, along with a performance audit and review of the compensation package.

Officials told that a number of DMG officers occupied the important seats in Centre and provinces as per the 2014 SRO as well as by understanding with the provincial bureaucracy, but lacked the required grip on the given assignments.

In addition to this, PTI manifesto also highlighted that the government will allow lateral entry into the service of competent professionals and lastly ensure compulsory retirement after two supersessions through a transparent mechanism.

Officials told that the overall promotion system is based on likes and dislikes in every group. Honest as well as competent officers sidelined whereas the corrupt officials managed to get important slots, they added.

Shahzad Arbab is a former DMG officer. Questions have been raised whether he will keep the 2014 SRO or make amendments as the competent officers of other groups could not get promotion due to such practice.

Meanwhile, the PTI government should discourage the culture of appointing junior officers as department heads since the action had an impact on the working of the particular department, officials added.

Sources told that former KP chief secretary Azam Khan is pursuing to get the slot of secretary to the prime minister. In addition to this, the officers who had served in the KP during the last five years are also lobbying for good slots in Centre.

It is pertinent to mention here that the slot of secretary to the premier got importance during the PML-N government as Fawad Hasan Fawad was considered to be making all decisions of transfers and postings while holding the same position.

It is worth mentioning here that the caretaker government had reshuffled some officers close to previous regime to federal level but that officers again succeeded to get important slots in federal as well. The officers are the secretaries of national health regulation, board of investment, power and industry, and production.