Punjab chief secretary replaced in less than a year

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LAHORE: In a surprise move, erstwhile Punjab chief secretary Azam Suleman – a BS-22 officer – has been transferred out within a year from being appointed on the key post.

Azam has been directed to report to the Establishment Division (ED) for further orders.

Meanwhile, Jawad Rafique Malik, who had been working as federal secretary Communications Division, has been appointed in his stead. The ED has issued a notification in this regard.

Malik previously served in Punjab as secretary C&W, secretary local governments and as commissioner Lahore.

Sources privy to the development  that Suleman had been given full assurance by Prime Minister Imran Khan that no political interference would be made in administrative affairs.

They said that in his less than one-year tenure, administrative affairs had improved and it was due to Suleman’s efforts that an effective mechanism was established to fight coronavirus and control prices of edible items.

According to reports, the outgoing chief secretary’s refusal to allow political interference in administrative affairs soured his relationship with the political leadership.

However, sources in the CM Office dismissed the claim, saying there was no conflict or undue political interference in administrative affairs and that the transfer was a routine matter.

‘Important responsibility’

Talking to Geo News, Jawwad Rafique said he would try his best to justify the trust Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Usman Buzdar have reposed in him.

“I have been entrusted with an important administrative responsibility and will work as a team with all officials.”

Measures for public safety will be strengthened in view of the coronavirus pandemic, he added. 

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