LAHORE: Chief Minister Usman Buzdar paid a surprise visit to the tourism office and transferred the additional secretary “for being absent from duty” while being oblivious to the fact that the officer held the additional charge of the TDCP MD and was performing her duties in that capacity at that time.

Tourism Department additional secretary Kalsoom Saqib was meeting an official delegation of civil officers, undergoing training at NIPA for their promotion from BS-18 to BS-19, at her MD TDCP office, when the chief minister “raided” the tourism department. The chief minister conducted a “surprise visit” to the head office of the tourism department on Tuesday morning and made administrative secretary retired Capt Mushtaq Ahmad and additional secretary Kalsoom Saqib OSD. Both the officers were directed to report to the S&GAD for further orders. Other absent officers were suspended from service.

The government also relieved Ms Saqib of the additional charge of the post of Managing Director, Tourism Development Corporation Punjab (TDCP).

Soon after her transfer, Ms Saqib took to her Facebook account and posted her transfer order alongside a group photo with the trainee officers outside her MD TDCP office. She wrote in her post: “What a day when you are made OSD for being on duty. These are strange times but got absolutely bizarre today”. She also thanked her team at the tourism department stating: “Nonetheless it was a great opportunity to do my bit for putting Tourism on the map. Great team, whom I will always adore,” she said.

The transferred officer says she has explained her position

Ms Saqib told Dawn that she had explained her position to her seniors in the government and she could not do anything more being a civil servant. “I am waiting for the instructions from the S&GAD for now,” she said.

Ms Saqib said she was explaining the working and scope of the TDCP to the senior trainee officers at her MD office in Johar Town and the tourism department is located at Shadman Colony.

Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Aamir Jan opted to stay mum when asked whether the chief minister, principal secretary and the entire CM office did not know that Ms Saqib was holding the additional charge of the MD TDCP and she could have been there to perform her duties. In her order, she was also relieved of her additional charge.

Mr Jan neither responded to a call nor text message.

A senior officer in the CM office on the condition of anonymity commented that either the CM office was unaware or the information was deliberately kept secret to embarrass the chief minister. The Punjab government is already facing governance issues.

Officials say Mr Buzdar has tried to imitate former chief minister Shehbaz Sharif by making surprise raids on government offices and suspending senior officers but failed to set an example at the very outset. On Wednesday, the chief minister paid a surprise visit to his own office and inspected the attendance, pace of file work and disposal of summaries. He directed the staff to observe office timings and official discipline. He met Adviser Hanif Pitafi, MPA Tahir Randhawa and others at the DS office and made his way to the conference room to discuss the agenda with the participants in the staff meeting.

While directing to take quick action on files being forwarded to the CMO, Mr Buzdar asked the staff to ensure early disposal of the summaries. Similarly, he stressed that the problems of visitors should be timely solved while treating them with respect.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2021

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