The Punjab government, in another unique move, has created a new seat of grade-22, additional chief secretary Communication & Works ACS (C&W).

As per a source, after the promotion of Secretary C&W Mushtaq Ahmad to grade-22, the Punjab government had retained his services in the province. “To adjust him in the province a new slot of ACS C&W was duly created,” said the official source.  

Earlier, when Additional Chief Secretary Shumail Khawaja was promoted to grade-22, his seat was also upgraded. Likewise, Home Secretary Maj (r) Azam Suleman was also promoted to Grade-22 and a new seat of ACS Home was created to adjust him in the Punjab.

This is for the first time in history that ACS S&GAD, ACS Home, ACS Energy and now ACS C&W were duly created all in grade-22 besides the chief secretary Punjab. It is relevant to mention here that a proposal to create a special vacancy of the additional chief secretary (social sector) has also been under consideration. The Punjab CM had issued the instructions that the S&GAD ACS, one of the top officers in the provincial hierarchy, is to be posted as ACS (social sectors) with immediate effect. If created, this will be the fourth ACS in the Punjab for the first time in the provincial history. But, afterwards, for reasons best known to the Punjab government, neither new seat of ACS (Social Sector) was created nor could S&GAD ACS Shumail Khawaja could be posted against this seat.

Till the filing of this report, ACS Khawaja was holding his office though he was transferred and posted as federal secretary Water Resources, a couple of weeks back.

There is another post of ACS Energy, duly created to accelerate work on energy issues.  Interestingly, at present, the top energy slot is being run on an additional-charge basis. Planning and Development Board chairman, a Grade-21 officer, the most important slot in the development sector, was entrusted with the additional charge of this office.

Now, after upgrade and creation of new slots of Grade-22, at least seven officers of grade-22 could be posted in the Punjab against the slots of chief secretary, ACS S&GAD, ACS Home, ACS C&W, Chairman P&D, Senior Member Board of Revenue (SMBR) and the IGP. Moreover, the Punjab government may also upgrade ACS Energy seat to adjust another officer of Grade-22.

The slots of the SMBR and ACS Energy are being run as stop-gap arrangements on an additional-charge basis. After the last SMBR Capt (r) Zahid Saeed was posted as CS Punjab, the top revenue office was running on the additional-charge basis. BOR Member Colonies was given charge of the top revenue office. Currently, Capt ® Javed Akbar was holding this office.

When contacted, a senior officer currently working in the federal capital, requesting anonymity, said the officers of Grade-18 and 19 were posted as secretary in the Punjab. Ahad Cheema, a grade 18 officer, he quoted, served as Secretary Higher Education department while two health secretaries currently serving in the Specialized Health Care department and Primary & Secondary Healthcare department are grade 19 officers. Both of the health secretaries Najam Shah and Ali Jan Khan are grade 19 officers running the most important health sectors.

He further said that there is no such precedent to retain senior officers of Grade-22 in the province as they are repatriated to the federal government for further posting on promotion. He said, instead of upgrading the ACS S&GAD and creating ACS Home slots, the government should have posted officers of Grade-22 against the slots of SMBR and P&D chairman where grade 20 and 21 officers were posted. Why important slots of the BOR and energy bosses are being run on an additional charge basis, he questioned adding when the government was facing severe challenges of electricity shortage and land grabbing. He said that the Punjab government had introduced anomalies in the bureaucracy by retaining the services of which it says ‘good’ officer and relieving the ‘poor’ officers after they touch the promotion heights. DG Civil Services Academy Punjab Maroof Afzal, CMIT Chairman Irfan Ali and Secretary Forest Capt ® Jehanzeb Khan were relieved from Punjab after they succeeded getting the promotion to grade 22.

A former CS Punjab also on requesting secrecy said that to his surprise a complete infrastructure of public sector companies, authorities and agencies were being established to adjust the blue-eyed officers on the huge sums of money.The current such drive had shaken the motivation of honest officers who work by the book without serving vested interests of any government. He said that such practices must be banned to avoid the escalating discrimination. He said that the company heads were drawing many times salary than the provincial administrative head, the SMBR, the Chairman P&D, CMIT Chairman and all the administrative secretaries and field formation officers.