Punjab chief secretary’s writ defied as parallel Secretariat established

Iqtidar Gilani Our Correspondent

21st Oct, 2021. 11:23 am
Usman Buzdar

Usman Buzdar says Durood Shareef will be recited at assemblies of schools across Punjab. Image: File

LAHORE: A senior member of the Board of Revenue has resorted to defying the writ of the Punjab chief secretary by establishing a parallel Secretariat, BOL News has learnt.

Apparently, senior member Babar Hayat Tarar desired brushing aside the impression of working under three batch junior officer, Dr Kamran Ali Afzal.

“[The] competent authority has been pleased to desire that in future all the official correspondence shall be issued under the letterhead of the Secretariat Board of Revenue, Punjab instead of Board of Revenue, Punjab,” reads an office order recently issued on the directives of the senior member of the Board of Revenue.

As such, the Secretariat of the Board of Revenue is now a separate independent entity, which has nothing to do with the top boss at the Civil Secretariat.

Prime Minister Imran Khan selected Dr Kamran Afzal for the coveted office of the chief secretary about a month ago for improving financial management of the biggest federating unit.

At the time of the issuance of the notification, three seniors for the newly-appointed chief secretary were already there. As per the tradition, seniors opt for leaving the province instead of working under a junior officer. Additional chief secretary Iram Bokhari opted for reporting to the Establishment Division for future postings in Islamabad. Additional chief secretary Zafar Nasrullah preferred to spend last six months of his service in the province, while Babar Hayat Tarar set up a separate Secretariat to give the impression of directly working under Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar.

The prevailing scenario has created restlessness among the bureaucrats who are getting the impression that the tenure of the fifth chief secretary in the last three years will be short-lived like his predecessors.

Sources said the chief secretary has not attended three meetings relating to the Board of Revenue.

The additional chief secretary and not the chief secretary was given an invitation to attend these three meetings chaired by the chief minister.

“The chief secretary is facing difficulties in imposing his authority under these circumstances. He is the boss of the SMBR and revenue officers working at the divisional, district and tehsil levels.

How such a key function could be taken away from the chief secretary who has been given the task of improving financial management,” a senior officer on the condition of anonymity said. The chief secretary was not getting an enabling environment, which could adversely impact the governance.

He said that the senior member of the Board of Revenue should either leave the province or accept the authority of the chief secretary.