Ali to oversee affairs as petroleum secretary Arshad axed

Published December 12, 2021
This combination photo shows Petroleum Division Secretary Dr Arshad Mehmood (left) and Power Division Secretary Ali Raza Bhutta. — Photos: National Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority, Ministry of Energy website
This combination photo shows Petroleum Division Secretary Dr Arshad Mehmood (left) and Power Division Secretary Ali Raza Bhutta. — Photos: National Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority, Ministry of Energy website

ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Satur­day removed Petroleum Division Secretary Dr Arshad Mehmood and assigned the charge of the office to Power Division Secretary Ali Raza Bhutta.

According to a notification issued by the Estab­lishment Division, “Dr Arshad Meh­mood a BS-22 officer of Pakistan Adminis­trative Service, presently posted as Secretary Petroleum Division, is transferred and directed to report to the Establishment Division”.

Interestingly, Mr Mehmood has not been assigned any posting. His services will remain at the disposal of Establishment Division until further orders.

As a makeshift arrangement, the Petroleum Division will be looked after by another bureaucrat.

Another notification of the Establishment Division regarding the additional charge of Mr Bhutta stated: “Ali Raza Bhutta, a BS-22 officer of Pakistan Administrative Service presently posted as Secretary Power Division, is assigned additional charge of the post of Secretary Petroleum Division for a period of three months or till the posting of regular incumbent; whichever is earlier, and with immediate effect.”

While there is no official statement about the ‘sudden’ removal of the petroleum secretary, the energy ministry reportedly is being criticised for referring to only one business group as the panacea for all energy challenges, including those relating to LPG production, pipelines for LNG supplies and facilitation to additional business-to-business arrangements within the existing LNG terminals.

The smaller groups like the compressed natural gas sector are being pushed to bow to this instead of seeking their own imports, it is said. In the process, a major Japanese player which may have led to market competition through additional terminal capacity appears to have been forced out at the last moment.

Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2021

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