ISLAMABAD - The federal government’s decision to appoint majority of the federal secretaries from the Pakistan Administrative Service group has sent a wave of resentment among the officers of rest of the service groups, background interaction with senior officers suggests.

In a major reshuffle on Wednesday, the government posted 22 federal secretaries and 17 new assignments went to the PAS officers only.

Jehanzeb Khan of PAS group was appointed as chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue though the post is traditionally assigned to an officer of the Inland Revenue.

The federal government is also giving key positions in the centre to the officers who had previously served in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province or they have good links with political families of KP, the data on the postings shows.

After taking oath as Prime Minister, Imran Khan had ordered to post a grade-21 officer of PAS Muhammad Azam Khan as Secretary to PM.  PTI government had also appointed former bureaucrat of DMG Shahzad Arbab as Advisor to PM on Establishment. Both Azam and Arbab are making decision regarding the postings and transfers of baboos in thye centre and provinces.

PTI government had appointed a ‘controversial’ officer Muhammad Jahanzeb Khan, a grade-22 of PAS, as Chairman Federal Board Revenue FBR/Secretary Revenue Division. Jahanzeb Khan was awaiting posting in Establishment Division before his appointment. Khan was considered close to PML-N and he also worked with former chief minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif and former secretary to PM Fawad Hassan Fawad. He had served in Punjab as Chairman Planning and Development department and he had appeared before NAB Lahore thrice in 56 companies’ case.

Interestingly, Jahanzeb Khan has also good links with former president Asif Ali Zardari and he was posted as commercial counsellor in Paris and established his links with high ranks of PPP’s government.

In 2009, when Jahanzeb was a grade-20 officer former President Asif Zardari decided to appoint him as Pakistan’s ambassador to France but the Foreign Service staged protest against the move and forced the government to withdraw its decision.           

The federal government made another surprising decision and posted former DC Lahore Captain (Retd) Usman as DG Punjab Food Authority who had recorded his statement in NAB Lahore in Saf Pani Corruption case. The PM has also tasked the former Inspector General Police KP Nasir Khan Durrani to bring reforms in Punjab Police and change the image of provincial police.

The federal government has also posted Dr Suleman as Director General Intelligence Bureau (IB). When former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi appointed Dr Suleman as DG IB a few months ago, PTI criticised this decision and declared Suleman as a puppet.   

According to the sources in Establishment Division, the federal government has decided to appoint Muhammad Tahir, a senior police officer as IGP Punjab with the consent of Durrani. They said that Tahir has served in KP and not a single achievement on his credit. They mentioned that a three-name summary for the Chief Secretary Punjab had also been sent to PM and Sardar Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera, a garde-22 officer of PAS, is a favourite candidate for the slot. 

Talking to The Nation, a senior officer of Inland Revenue Group said on condition of anonymity that PM Imran Khan should have reviewed the profiles of bureaucrats before giving them important roles.

He said that the federal government should take decisions on merit and engage the officers of other services groups in the centre and provinces. He said several senior officers of IRG are available and there was no need to post a PAS officer as FBR chairman.

The federal government has also posted former Chairman FBR Tariq Pasha as Secretary Kashmir Affairs and Gilgat-Balistan. He was involved in introducing three-tier tax structure on cigarette and accommodated the multinational companies and caused a loss of Rs33 billion to the national exchequer in last year. Finance Minister Asad Umar and other senior PTI leaders had raised the voice against three-tier tax structure in and outside of the parliament.               

Talking to the Nation, senior bureaucrats demanded that the preference should not be given to a specific group in bureaucracy and the newly elected government should provide equal opportunities to other services groups to perform in their areas. They said the incumbent government could not bring reforms in bureaucracy and different sectors without following merit and ignoring the experts of relevant fields.