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LAHORE: As the government’s five-year term is ending on May 31, two top officials of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) have gone on leave in a bid to either rejoin the authority or get new postings during the tenure of the interim set-up ahead of the general election.

The officers from the Pakistan Administrative Service -- Ms Samia Saleem and Mr Khizar Afzaal -- had joined the LDA as Additional Director General (Headquarters) and ADG (Urban Planning) respectively a few years ago on deputation.

On the other hand, many officers of the Provincial Management Service (PMS) or the local government services who had joined the LDA on deputation as directors during the last three years or so, are being relieved in the next few days after the Services & General Administration Department sought details from the quarters concerned to assign them election-related or other important duties during the interim set-up.

According to official sources, those likely to be relieved from the LDA include Mr Asim Saleem (Record Sifting Director), Mr Iqbal Fareed (Director Commercialization), Mr Amir Khan (Land Acquisition Collector), Mr Ameer Hasan (Director Law), Mr Ali Shahzad (Director Administration and Finance) and Mr Usman Ghani (Director, Estate Management-II).

“Ms Saleem had gone on 10 days leave till May 28. But on Saturday, she submitted another application seeking leave for another seven days starting on May 28. Similarly, Mr Afzaal had gone on leave to perform Umrah. He may not join the office till May 31,” a source in the LDA told Dawn on Saturday.

“ADG (Housing) Mr Zeeshan Rana holds the additional charge of the two prime posts of ADGs headquarters and urban planning affecting the routine working,” the source said.

The source said a senior PAS officer, Mr Zahid Akhtar Zaman (LDA DG), had also preferred going on a long leave last month. “He was posted in the LDA last year after his predecessor (Mr Nabeel Javed) too desired to leave it. Mr Javed had taken over the office of the LDA DG after the government transferred Mr Ahad Khan Cheema and posted him CEO of the Quaid-i-Azam Thermal Power Company.”

He said after Mr Zahid Zaman’s leave-cum-transfer, the government entrusted PHA DG Mian Shakeel Ahmad with the additional charge of the LDA DG. And he (Mr Ahmad) is likely to be transferred during the interim government’s tenure, he said.

Ms Saleem told Dawn that she would rejoin the LDA during the first week of June. “I was on medical leave but didn’t rejoin the authority. Now I have planned to resume the work during the first week of the next month,” she added.

According to a source, the reason behind senior officers’ unwillingness to work as DG was involvement in litigation over various projects. “The current DG has appeared before courts for more than seven times within one month,” he said.

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2018