ISLAMABAD - Promotions of senior bureaucrats of different services groups are in the doldrums for the last one-and-half-month as a meeting of the promotion board could not be held due to the Panama Papers case involving the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

The meeting of High-Powered Selection Board (HPSB) is likely to be held next week under the chair of new Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi regarding the promotions of grade-21 officers. According to the services rules, the meeting of HPSB should be held after every six months under the chair of the PM. 

The meeting of the HPSB was scheduled for the last week of June but it could not be held because the former PM was facing a corruption case in the apex court and later the court disqualified him.

Sources in the Establishment Division told The Nation that the ED has finalized officers’ panels of different services groups to present them in the meeting.  The sources said that 13 posts including eight posts of federal secretaries and five of special secretaries in different division are lying vacant. The sources claimed that five other grade-22 officers would retire by the end of this year and 18 officers of grade-22 would also retire from their services next year. 

The sources also disclosed that the promotion case of Fawad Hassan Fawad, the personal secretary of the former premier, was also in the list of the grade-21 officers of the Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS). According to documents available with The Nation, eight key ministries were being run without permanent heads and the government has given the charge of these ministries to grade-21 officers. The federal government has given additional charge of Economic Affairs Division to Shahid Masood as well as the post of Secretary National Security Division is also lying vacant while Amir Ashraf Khawaja has been given additional charge as secretary of the division.

The matters of Petroleum and Natural Resources Division are being run without a regular head and the government has appointed Muhammad Jalal Sikandar, a  grade-21 officer, as Additional Secretary In-charge.

The slot of Secretary Interior is also lying vacant and Tariq Mehmood Khan is looking after the matters of the division as Additional Secretary Interior Division. Interestingly, the post of Secretary Narcotics Control Division could not be filled after the transfer of the last secretary.

The post of Secretary Privatisation Division/Commission is also lying vacant after the transfer of Sardar Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera to Information, Broadcasting and National last month. The government once again gave charge of this Division to Sukhera. Shoaib Mir was posted as Additional Secretary In-charge of the Federal Education and Professional Training Division a few months back.

The post of Secretary ED is also lying vacant and the government has posted Mian Asad Hayuddin as Additional Secretary Incharge of the division last week.