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Six-member interim Punjab cabinet sworn in

Ex-IGP Shaukat Javed is now Home Minister; bureaucratic shuffle on the cards

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By Faisal Ali Ghumman

LAHORE: A six-member caretaker Punjab cabinet was sworn in at the Governor’s House on Monday.

Punjab Governor Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana administered the oath to the newly-inducted caretaker cabinet which comprises people from bureaucracy, healthcare, power and industry.

The ceremony was attended by Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Prof Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi, Punjab Chief Secretary Capt (Retd) Zahid Saeed, Corps Commander Lahore Lieutenant-General Amir Riaz,
IGP Capt (retired) Arif Nawaz, representatives of naval, air force, and civil administration.

Earlier, the Punjab chief secretary read out the notification according to which Ahmed Waqas Riaz  was given portfolio of Ministry of Information & Culture; Syed Zia Haider Rizvi Ministry of Finance, Excise & Taxation); Anjum Nisar Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Investment & Minerals; Dr Jawad Sajid Khan Ministry of Primary Healthcare & Specialised Healthcare; Former Inspector General Police Shaukat Javed Home Department and former Chairman Wapda Zafar Mahmood was assigned the ministry of Energy & Local Government.

With the appointment of former Inspector General of Punjab Police and ex-member Punjab Public Service Commission Shaukat Javed as caretaker Punjab Home Minister, the changes in the provincial bureaucracy are on the cards.

Keeping in view the past practices in Punjab, the provincial secretaries, departmental heads and entire administrative machinery including the commissioners, the regional police officers, deputy commissioners and the district police officers will be shuffled.

Shaukat Javed, who remained the provincial police officer from April 2008 to April 2009 and also commanded the Intelligence Bureau in Punjab, is usually considered a professional officer.

Senior government circles who are considered close to Shaukat Javed speaking to Daily The Business say Javed will attempt to form his own administrative team in consultation with the Chief Minister and new Chief Secretary.

They say Javed showed his willingness to be the part of the Punjab government after several retired police officers including ex-IGP KPK Nasir Khan Durrani and ex-IGP Punjab Tariq Saleem Dogar refused.

They say the provincial governments will be able to appoint key field officers only with guidance of the ECP as the Election Commission Act 2017 has empowered the commission to restrict interim governments not to take administrative major decisions independently.

They say the new Chief Secretary and the IGP are expected to be brought into Punjab from Islamabad or other provinces.

For the CS, the names of senior Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) officers Ahmad Nawaz Sokhaira, Hayauddin and incumbent federal secretary religious affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf are under consideration.

The interim provincial government is also considering the names of Federal Investigation Agency Director General Bashir Memon, Major (retired) IG Iqbal Mehmood, ex-IG National Highways & Motorways Police Kaleem Imam and IG Sindh A D Khawaja for the post of the IGP Punjab.

For the key post of the Capital City Police Officer Lahore- a post which is assumed the second most important slot in the Punjab police set up, Additional IG Operations Punjab Aamir Zulfiqar may be considered.

DIG Counter Terrorism Department Punjab Baber Sarfraz Alpa and DIG Establishment I Punjab Khurram Ali Shah can be choices for the Deputy Inspector General of Police (Operations) Lahore.

After two top appointments, a series of transfers and postings of provincial secretaries and regional and district officers will take place apparently to ensure transparency in upcoming polls.

The government circles believe that former Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif-picked bureaucrats including police officers are likely to face transfers.

Some PAS and PSP officers while smelling the rate of transfers outside Punjab have already proceeded on multiple leaves.

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