ISLAMABAD  - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to decide soon about the standoff between the chairman and secretary of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) who have been at loggerheads with each other for several weeks.

Chairman BISP Enver Baig has written two letters to the prime minister urging the latter to remove the secretary BISP. Baig wrote the first letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on April 3 followed by another on April 9, requesting the PM to remove his secretary on the plea that he (secretary) was not following his (chairman’s) orders that could damage the interests of the government as well. Both the letters are awaiting reply yet, the sources revealed to this scribe. The sources said that either the secretary or the chairman was going to survive in the organisation.

“Let’s see who wins, either the prime minister will keep the bureaucrat intact or take decision in the favour of his colleague as the chairman is absolutely not willing to work with the present secretary of the organisation,” the sources said.

The chairman BISP has also sought removal of Director General BISP Dr Mukhtar in his letters written to the PM.

The controversy started when Dr Mukhtar with the approval of Secretary Rab Nawaz released a payment to a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that the chairman had stopped until and unless it was cleared from the scrutiny committee constituted by the chairman to look into the financial decisions taken during the rule of previous regime.

Apart from this, the chairman has also reservations that secretary BISP did not qualify to be appointed in the organisation, as a grade-21 officer can be appointed as secretary BISP but Rab Nawaz is an officer of grade-20.

The sources also revealed that three members of the parliament, Ch Muhammad Shahbaz Babar, Nighat Parveen and Dr Nisar Ahmad Jutt, had also submitted a call attention notice in the lower house in favour of Baig. But still nobody knows what the PM is thinking about, but the decision, whatever it could be, is expected within days, the sources said.

The aforementioned three parliamentarians have drawn attention of minister in-charge of cabinet secretariat to the payments of Rs 2.6 million made to an American NGO by the approval of the secretary BISP and have alleged that the secretary did so without seeking the approval from the scrutiny committee. It is also mentioned in the call attention notice that the government of Punjab sacked the secretary twice for poor performance.

Responding to the accusation of releasing payments to the NGO, Secretary Rab Nawazs said, “No rule was violated while making payments and it was done on merit.” About the letters of the chairman written to the PM, he said, “I don’t know about it. No one from the PM Secretariat or any other quarter has sought explanation from me on anything.”

When contacted, Chairman BISP Enver Baig said, “Yes, I have written two letters to the prime minister for removal of my present secretary and DG mentioning their defiance of PML-N policies that can create hurdles to achieve the goals of the government of poverty alleviation from the country and creating job opportunities for the unemployed through BISP.”