LAHORE: The federal government appears to have softened its stance on the transfer of Punjab Food Authority Director General Noorul Amin Mengal to Balochistan after Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif resisted the move.

The Establishment Division Islamabad had issued transfer orders of Mr Mengal, a BS-19 officer of the Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) and directed him to report to the Balochistan government in August last.

The officer has been working as PFA director general for less than a year.

According to sources, the Punjab government had twice written to the federal authorities that Mr Mengal could not be relieved because his services were needed in the province.

However, the Establishment Division again wrote a letter to the provincial government for Mr Mengal’s transfer, saying: “The competent authority has directed to relieve Mr Noor-ul-Amin Mengal to join government of Balochistan on his transfer to that government dated Aug 9.

“The authority is further pleased to direct that the officer may also be directed to join the Government of Balochistan, immediately failing which disciplinary proceeding under the Government Servants (efficiency and Discipline) Rules, 1973, shall be initiated against him.”

A source, however, claimed the Punjab government had again written to the Centre that they were not relieving Mr Mengal due to his engagement in different projects in Punjab.

He said that after the second refusal by Punjab to relieve Mr Mengal, the federal government did not issue any further direction in this regard.

He said the federal authorities seemed to have softened their stance on the issue.

He said Mr Mengal had expanded the PFA to the entire province, besides introducing 16 new regulations which annoyed some influential people in the food industry.

He said earlier some influential businessmen had approached the chief minister for cancellation of some new regulation, including banning of beverages in educational institutions, introduced by Mr Mengal, but he (the CM) refused to do so in the public interest.

He said the food authority had given five years to milk vendors to stop selling loose milk to introduce pasteurised milk under the new laws. Similar curbs were being put on the sale of loose spices and tea and cooking oil with a three-year deadline given by the PFA, he added.

Published in Dawn, October 1st, 2017