PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif. — Photo by AFP
ISLAMABAD, May 21: The Sharifs of the PML-N have asked a former bureaucrat to draw up a list of officers who will be given key assignments in Islamabad.
It was revealed during background interviews with some party leaders and senior bureaucrats that Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister-in-waiting, had asked his former principal secretary and retired bureaucrat Saeed Mehdi to formulate the list.
“In Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif will not be having problems in picking officers of his choice to run his administration because he was at the helm in the province until very recently. But Islamabad will be a totally new territory for the elder Sharif, for which he needs a team of experienced and honest bureaucrats,” said a close aide to the Sharif family.
Mr Mehdi has got both experience and updated information about the present lot of officers in the federal bureaucracy. His own son is the sitting deputy commissioner of Islamabad. Dr Tauqir Shah --- a DMG officer who has worked as special secretary to Shahbaz Sharif, is helping Mr Mehdi pick the bureaucrats.
If the PPP and President Asif Ali Zardari had Salman Farooqi, the PML-N will have the services of Mr Mehdi, who will be playing a crucial role in running the federal government, remarked a sitting federal secretary.
Mr Farooqi, who is secretary general to the president and acting Federal Ombudsman, throughout the five years of the PPP-led government held the centre of power right under the eyes of President Zardari. According to a reliable account, all important files of the Prime Minister Secretariat used to be routed through Mr Farooqi’s office.
After the PPP received a drubbing in the elections, the incoming PML-N wants to put up a good show. That’s why it is looking for bureaucrats who are both efficient and honest.
“We are facing a real dilemma in selecting officers who carry both experience and have remained free of the PPP’s corrupt influences. Every second federal secretary who has worked under the PPP government is linked to some sort of financial management, which we can ill-afford,” said the Sharifs’ aide.