The change of government in Islamabad and expected change in Punjab will bring about a massive reshuffle in the administrative setup. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is known for his administrative skills. He requires a trained brigade of civil servants who know his working style. Shehbaz during his ten-year stint as Punjab chief minister trained a lot of officers who know how to deliver.
As Hamza Shehbaz, Shehbaz’s son, expected to be enthroned in Punjab on Saturday, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) hierarchy has joined heads to figure out as which baboos will assist big Sharif in Islamabad and who will have to be dispatched to Punjab to assist junior Sharif.
Punjab is the bastion of the PML-N, which is left with no other option but to deliver before the upcoming polls. So all focus is on Punjab.
Top baboos have already started contacting Dr Taqueer Shah, the already appointed principal secretary of the PM and Fawad Ahmad Fawad, the former principal secretary of former premier and PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif. Fawad is likely to be appointed as adviser to the PM.
Both Fawad and Dr Taqueer will finalize the list of officers to serve in Islamabad and Punjab. Insiders claimed that the list is almost final and they are waiting for the first batch of the federal cabinet members to be sworn in Islamabad and the dust to settle in Punjab.
Insiders claimed that Imdad Bosal, former principal secretary of Shehbaz, will get the cherished seat of Punjab chief secretary. Bosal belongs to a political family of Mandi Bahauddin and his elder brother is a parliamentarian from the PML-N.
Nabeel Awan, who had a stint in Punjab as secretary health under former CM Usman Buzdar, is a trustworthy officer of Shehzab Sharif and he will assist junior Sharif in Punjab as his principal secretary.
The other officers who will serve junior Sharif include Abdullah Sumbal, the current chairman of the Punjab Planning and Development Board and Ali Murtaza, the current additional chief secretary. Both officers are known for their professionalism.
Those who are likely to serve senior Sharif include Afzal Latif who is likely to continue as secretary Establishment Division, Momin Ali Agha and Nadeem Aslam Chaudhry. They all are likely to be given important positions in the federal capital.
It is for the first time that some senior bureaucrats from Sindh who are close relatives of senior Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders will be given significant posts under Shehbaz Sharif.
These include Naheed Shah, daughter of Qaim Ali Shah, Asif Haider Shah, son-in-law of Murad Ali Shah, Saleh Farooqi and Imdad Ullah Darejo. Likewise, federal secretary cabinet Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera is likely to be asked to continue his current assignment. Administrative normalcy is likely to return to Punjab as well as to the Centre, once PML-N returns to power in Punjab.
Punjab has seen its worst days under Usman Buzdar, whose appointment as chief minister still baffles many. Some people believe that Buzdar was selected for the crucial post due to some calculation of numerology.
Buzdar spent his initial months like a timid lamb. However, he soon found Tahir Khurshid who allegedly baptized him to corrupt practices first in DG Khan where Khurshid was posted as director of a development project.
Tahir Khurshid, known as the TK in the officialdom, allegedly taught Buzdar secure tricks of minting money and there were whispers in the corridors of power how money was making the mare go just three or four months after Buzdar was installed as the CM.
It was alleged that officers who paid bribes to the CM had a field day as they got their desired postings as deputy commissioners (DCs), project directors and jail superintendents etc. There were officers like TK, Amir Jan and Amir Karim Khan who were bringing bad names to the PTI government.
It was said that if you have to get good posting, get “teekay” from TK. There are many officers who got desired postings by paying bribes. Such postings played havoc with governance as the common man had to ultimately pay the price
The Buzdar government was also allegedly involved in illegal allotment of land. The story of 54 bureaucrats getting illegal pieces of land still circulates. Shehbaz Sharif had declined to allot land to the said 54 officers but Buzdar allotted them land in violation of law.
Grapevine has it that Amir Karim Khan, who himself got 25 acres of state land, reportedly collected money from the officers and gave it to Buzdar who allotted land in sheer disregard of law.
Another scandal is related to construction and roads projects. Some particular officers were posted where mega projects were initiated. Initially, the influential officers at the CM Secretariat were cautious and received bribes at a certain residence in Lahore DHA. Later, they grew careless and started taking bribes openly. After the installation of a new government, the governance in Punjab is likely to improve.