LAHORE - The prime minister has approved the name of Asim Suleman as new Civil Aviation Authority director general, though Shujaat Azeem made strenuous efforts to get Amjad Toor appointed on the same slot contrary to the merit list of Federal Public Service Commission in which his name was at serial No three, said well-placed sources in CAA yesterday.

A member of FPSC, seeking anonymity, said the Commission, after conducting interviews, had sent its merit list of four candidates to the prime minister who was supposed to select one of them as the new CAA DG. In a last attempt to change the PM’s decision, Shujaat advised him to interview all the four candidates recommended by the FPSC.

The FPSC, on the direction of the PM and to ensure transparency, had interviewed the candidates and shortlisted four candidates in the following order of merit – 1-Air Marshal Jamshed, 2-Air Marshal (r) Asim Suleman, 3-Amjad Ali Toor who will retire on reaching the age of superannuation on November 27, 2015, and 4-ex-CAA officer Air Cdr Zia.

The removal of the aviation secretary had been on the cards for some time. It was sealed when he gave statements to the Supreme Court that the appointment of Shujaat Azeem was done by a summary moved by the Cabinet Division secretary who did not mention that Shujaat Azeem was court-martialled by the PAF. Had this aspect not been concealed, he would not have been appointed to serve the government in any capacity. So Shujaat and the cabinet secretary are in trouble.

Additionally, Gardezi was resisting the purchase of 3 Boeing B-777 aircraft by PIA, which was not justified on market basis. These aircraft were allegedly being purchased through a middleman of Shujaat Azeem and resistance by Gardezi was against his business deal.

Finally, on December 2, they planned to tell the Supreme Court that the aviation secretary had been removed by the prime minister for not putting up the summary in a proper order. This will provide a face-saving to the authorities concerned.

When contacted, spokesman for CAA Pervez George, expressed his ignorance over the issue, asking this scribe to contact Sher Ali for comments, but his phone did not respond despite repeated efforts.