ISLAMABAD -  Despite a court order, Sardar Sohail Ahmed Sukhera assumed charge as Secretary Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage yesterday, sources said.

On Friday last, the federal government had issued a notification transferring Sukhera, who worked as Secretary Privatisation Commission, to the information ministry, however, he did not assume charge on the same day.

Following the Islamabad High Court order, Shoaib Ahmad Siddique, who was made additional secretary at the information ministry after the government issued the notification (making Sukhera as secretary), chaired a meeting at the ministry earlier in the day as ‘information secretary’, The Nation has reliably learnt.

On Monday morning, the IHC had directed Interior Secretary Arif Ahmed to convey to the prime minister not change the interior secretary and secretary information till the completion of the hearing in the blasphemous content case.

The Establishment Division through the notification had given additional charge of Secretary Information to Shoaib Siddique, a PAS officer and Secretary National Security Division, for three months/or permanent appointment of the secretary information.

Talking to The Nation, Shoaib Siddique confirmed that he chaired the meeting at the Ministry of Information due to the IHC court. He said that he had written a letter to the Establishment Division informing it about the development and has requested the ED through a letter to guide him on the issue. 

He said that he has not personnel issue with the newly appointed Secretary Information Sukhera, adding that, he was just awaiting the instructions of the federal government for a next step. He said that if government ask him to leave the information ministry he will not take a single minute to stay over there.

Replying to question, he said that IHC praised the working to information ministry in its last hearings in the blasphemous content case.

According to the sources, after the IHC order, Shoaib Siddique chaired the meeting of a pre-Public Accounts Committee meeting of the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, which was attended by senior officers of the ministry, representatives of its attached departments and the Finance Division. He also constituted a four-member committee to look into all write-off cases of the ministry and its attached departments.

The sources said that the new Secretary Sukhera has also taken the charge of the post of Secretary Information yesterday evening.

A senior officer at the Establishment Division told The Nation that the ED has yet not received any letter from Shoaib Siddique seeking guidance.

When The Nation contacted, Establishment Division Secretary Syed Tahir Shahbaz said that he was not aware of the development because he left the federal capital for Lahore after appearing before Supreme Court in a case of illegal appointments in National Accountability Bureau.

When contacted, Sukhera told The Nation that “there was no problem at all. I have assumed charge as secretary information.” “I am not aware of any such happening. Shoaib sb is a very decent and fine colleague and there is absolutely no problem,” Sukhera said.

The Nation contacted the interior secretary umpteenth times on the phone and through text messages to get his version on the issue, however, he did not respond till our going to the press.