LAHORE - The federal government has not yet notified the new Punjab chief secretary.

Outgoing Punjab CS Naveed Akram Cheema will join Pakistan Cricket Team as Manager, as the federal government has already notified it.

The Punjab government, however, has given additional charge of the CS office to Additional Chief Secretary Mubashar Raza who also holds charge of the Secretary Services as newly posted secretary Mohayyuddin Ahmad Wani has not yet taken charge of the office. ACS Raza at present is CS, ACS and Secretary Services, all three most powerful positions in the province, which is unique example in Punjab’s history.

Senior bureaucrat Nadeem Hasan Asif, FBR Chairman Tariq Bajwa, former ACS Punjab Amir Sohail Mirza, Secretary Interior Shahid Khan, former AJK Chief Secretary Khizar Hayat Gondal and former Balochistan CS Babur Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad are in the run for the top slot. Asif and Bajwa are said to be forerunners in the race.

Cheema will be one of the former chief secretaries who preferred another job after relieving from a high-profile post. Former CS AZK Sherdil was posted as Bank of Punjab Chairman in 2010. Javed Mehmood was posted as Punjab Ombudsman after he was retired as Punjab chief secretary. Former CS Nasir Mehmood Khosa was posted as executive director at the World Bank in Washington, replacing Raja Azeemul Haq, son-in-law of former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf.

As Punjab lacks officers in BP 22, the federal government seems in a fix to relieve any officer to serve in the biggest province as administration head. Well aware circles among the services said that the political bosses would want assurances from the new comer to deal with multiple aspects like law and order, PTI agitation and terrorism threats in the province.

An officer said that after the top office was vacated on October 14, 2013 when former CS Javed Aslam was posted as principal secretary to the prime minister, the lobbying for the office was not so much severe. He said that then the PTI protests were not so common and the heavy burden to tackle them was away from the shoulders of the civil servants’ boss.

A senior officer also in the race for the important position in Punjab said that when Dr Tauqeer Shah was the secretary to the CM in Punjab, many officers were not interested to hold the CS office. After removal of Shah, officers like to serve in Punjab, he viewed. He said that Shah’s role remained dominant in the government affairs.

He said that the CS should be given free hand to run affairs of the government instead of political interference that had increased in recent years. He said former Information Secretary and Secretary to the Prime Minister Mohayyuddin Ahmad Wani’s posting as Secretary Services meant that in future more transfers would be made.

Why the Punjab government has made massive reshuffle in the bureaucracy just a day before posting of the new CS like Agriculture Secretary, Higher Education Secretary, Secretary Excise and Taxation, Secretary Higher Education, Secretary Local Government, Secretary Auqaf, Secretary Housing, Commissioner Lahore and Sahiwal Divisions and some DCOs were transferred?

The officer said that the incumbent political regime did not give that much powers to the administration that was tragic. He said that instead of transfers and postings on large scale, the government should have waited the posting of the new CS and allow him to prepare a team to tackle severe issues in the province.