ISLAMABAD: The controversy which started from President Arif Alvi’s tweet regarding the ‘dubious’ assent to two bills transformed into a crisis after it emerged that bureaucrats were hesitant to be posted to the Presidency, sources told Dawn.

The president is said to be facing a virtual “revolt-like situation” as senior bureaucrats were unwilling to take up the post of the president’s principal secretary (PS), sources said on Tuesday.

The atmosphere in the Presidency has become so tense that no officer was ready to become the president’s PS, the source added.

There is also a sense of anger and anxiousness among bureaucrats over the president’s move to replace his PS, Waqar Ahmed. They believe he “was made a scapegoat” by the president for not returning the two bills within the prescribed period of ten days.

Officials miffed at colleague’s removal; Humera Ahmed turns down offer to be posted as Alvi’s principal secretary

The reluctance among the bureaucrats became apparent after the refusal of Humera Ahmed to be posted as the president’s PS.

On Monday, President Alvi returned the services of Mr Ahmed and requested the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to post Ms Ahmed in his place.

But Ms Ahmed, a BPS-22 officer who took charge as the federal secretary of the national heritage and culture division on Monday, has refused to become the president’s principal secretary, sources told Dawn.

Following her refusal, no other offi­cer has been sent to the Presidency so far.

Ms Ahmed’s refusal is surprising as she had served as the president’s principal secretary in the past in an acting capacity.

A source said after Ms Ahmed’s ref­usal, the president would have to continue with Waqar Ahmed as his principal secretary.

Meanwhile, the PMO also seems to be turning a deaf ear to the president’s request regarding the change of his principal secretary.

When contacted, an official in the PMO told Dawn that the president has to contact the ECP to change his principal secretary.

He said the ECP has barred the interim government from posting and transfers of senior bureaucrats without the commission’s consent.

Recently, the government transferred more than two dozen federal secretaries and heads of different institutions on ECP’s orders.

The issue surfaced on Sunday when President Alvi claimed he had not given assent to two disputed legislation: Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill 2023 and the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill 2023, and blamed his staff for misleading him.

Then on Monday, Mr Alvi wrote a letter to Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Dr Tauqir Shah to appoint a new PS to the presidency.

Meanwhile, Waqar Ahmed also wrote to President Alvi, requesting him to take back his decision removing him as the PS, saying that he was ready to prove his innocence.

Published in Dawn, August 23rd, 2023

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