LAHORE: As that was already decided by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf leadership to change the top bureaucracy in centre, newly-elected Prime Minister Imran Khan eventually picked the man of his choice, Mohammad Azam, to assist him as principal secretary.
Azam, who is BS-21 officer of Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) and was posted as Additional Secretary (In-charge) States and Frontier Regions Division, will now perform his duties as Secretary to the Prime Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, with immediate effect and until further orders.
A notification was issued by the Establishment Division, Cabinet Secretariat, Government of Pakistan, on Saturday.
The notification carries Mr Azam’s appointment as Secretary and not Principal Secretary as he is BS-21 officer.
Azam, who belongs to Khyber Pakhtunkhawa (KP) and has served different posts in his home province, is considered an upright and professional officer.
Before his posting in Islamabad before general elections 2018, he was Chief Secretary and Home Secretary KP in the tenure (2013-18) of PTI government.
A couple of senior PAS officers speaking to Daily The Business have welcomed Mr Azam’s appointment on certain grounds.
They recall soon after 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in US in 2001, Mr Azam had differed with the Musharraf-led government about the army operation in tribal belt and South Waziristan.
As he belonged to KP and was political agent in SW at that time, he floated the idea of launching operation not by the army but by the Frontier Corps and local tribes.
“Mr Azam had pleaded that in case of army action, locals would react badly and any armed conflict would be much more devastating for both sides”, they said, adding he was removed from his post afterwards.
Officers say Mr Azam is generally acknowledged in the entire civil service because of his bold and principled stance on administrative matters.
Sources close to the Establishment Division say after the recent appointment, more changes are likely on cards in administrative divisions of the federal government.
They say the PTI government will also change the secretaries of Establishment and Cabinet Divisions and the input of Mr Azam in picking new team in centre as well as in provinces will mater up to some extent.
In Punjab, there are strong rumors that incumbent Chief Secretary Akbar Durrani and Inspector General of Punjab Police Syed Kaleem Imam may continue with their positions in the new government being formed by PTI, a result of mutual arrangements.