Punjab likely to get new chief secretary, IGP again

Shahid AslamSpecial Correspondent - Lahore

06th Sep, 2021. 12:23 pm
Usman Buzdar

LAHORE: The Punjab government is all set to change the chief secretary and inspector general of police (IGP) for the fifth and seventh time, respectively in the PTI-led government’s three-year tenure, BOL News has learnt.

Sources in the federal capital told BOL News that the Punjab government has forwarded a summary of six senior officials, three each for both the slots, to the Establishment Division and the same has further been forwarded to Prime Minister Imran Khan who is going to make the final decision soon.

It is expected that after the premier’s nod, the Establishment Division may issue a notification for the new chief secretary and the new IGP Punjab within a couple of days or even on Monday (today).

The sources said the names of former federal finance secretary Dr Kamran Ali Afzal, senior member of the Board of Revenue Punjab Babar Hayat Tarar and federal secretary of the Cabinet Division Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera have been suggested for the slot of the Punjab chief secretary. All the three bureaucrats are Grade 22 officers.

Dr Afzal is being considered the most eligible candidate, the sources claimed. He was removed from the federal secretary finance position just days before the June 2021 federal budget.

The second candidate being considered for the post of the Punjab chief secretary is Sukhera. He is among the most senior bureaucrats of the country and currently holds the important slot of Cabinet secretary. Being the Cabinet secretary, Sukhera remains in touch with the prime minister and those who matter the most on a daily basis.

The sources said Sukhera could be a good choice for Punjab but he may replace Azam Khan as the principal secretary to the prime minister in the near future.

Tarar is also being considered for this coveted slot. He met PM Imran Khan a few days ago when the latter had visited Lahore.

The sources said Tarar has also become close to the premier after he helped vacate state land from illegal occupants and registered cases against the illegal occupants, majority from the opposition benches, with the help of the Anti-Corruption Punjab. But, according to sources, Tarar too has certain drawbacks, which could be a hurdle in him getting the top slot.

First, the sources said, he is the brother-in-law of the former PML-N federal minister Saira Afzal Tarar and will always have to go an extra mile to prove his loyalty to PTI.

Secondly, Tarar’s younger brother Yasir Hayat Tarar has been in jail for alleged corruption worth Rs800 million and facing a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) trial for the last one year or so.

Yasir Tarar got the contract to buy land and establish a cooperative housing society at a time when his elder brother, i.e., Babar Hayat Tarar was the secretary of the [cooperative] department.

In 2018, the then secretary cooperative had conducted a fact-finding of the society and found alleged corruption in which Babar’s role too remained questionable.

The sources said this could go against Babar Hayat Tarar and he may not get the coveted slot in Punjab but he may be accommodated in another province.

The sources also said that the summary for the slot of the new IGP Punjab has nominated Punjab Safe Cities Authority (PSCA) director general Additional IG Rao Sardar, chief of South Punjab Police Additional IG Captain Zafar Iqbal (Retd) and former IGP Islamabad Amir Zulfiqar.

Rao Sardar is being considered as the strong candidate for the slot of IGP Punjab. The senior police officer has met with Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and other senior leaders at the Prime Minister office during the last few days, the sources said.

Rao Sardar has the reputation of a very good police officer who always loves to command. Earlier as DIG, he served in the Intelligence Bureau and remained part of the Dawn leaks joint investigation team.

A senior police official, seeking anonymity, told BOL News that an officer like Rao Sardar could only survive for a few days, as he will now bow down to any government pressure.

As South Punjab police chief Captain Zafar Iqbal (Retd) is going to retire in March 2022 and; therefore, there are lesser chances of him being appointed as the new IGP, as he has only a few months left before his retirement.

Similarly, a good-reputed senior police officer and additional director general of the Anti-Narcotics Force Aamir Zulfiqar can also be a good choice, as he has served as the capital’s police chief earlier during the PTI regime.

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