LAHORE/ISLAMABAD         -             The federal government on Thursday appointed Jawad Rafique Malik as Punjab’s new chief secretary in place of Maj (R) Azam Suleman who has been asked to report to the Establishment Division.

Jawad Rafique is the fifth chief secretary Punjab has got in a short span of less than two years. Among his last four predecessors, Yousaf Naseem Khokar was the only officer who served a term of over one year (Around 13 months). Khokar had replaced Akbar Hussain Durrani in October 2018. Mr Durrani was appointed chief secretary in June 2018 by the caretaker set up.

Maj (R) Azam Suleman assumed charge as Punjab chief secretary in November 2019. He served at the top most position only for five months.

Before his new assignment, Jawad Rafique was serving as Secretary Communication Division in the federal government.  Before this, Jawad Rafique has served as Commissioner Lahore division and Punjab Secretary Health in the last tenure of the PML-N government.

The name of Jawad Rafique was finalized in a meeting which took place between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar in Islamabad on Thursday afternoon.  

According to sources, the change was in the air for quite some time, but the COVID-19 outbreak delayed the decision. One could feel signs of a growing sense of unease in Punjab’s political hierarchy since January this year as the new system of governance orchestrated by Islamabad was not working well.