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Heavyweights knock out `blue-eyed` bureaucrat

July 17, 2009

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LAHORE, July 16 A blue-eyed administrative secretary who was instrumental in making massive reshuffle in Punjab at the very outset of the PML-N government last year went on leave on Thursday reportedly under pressure from a senior party leader and some MPAs supporting a leading contractor.

Communication and Works Secretary Fawad Hasan Fawad reportedly went on a six-week leave in the morning and left the office after having a farewell meeting with his staff. Sources said he intended to proceed on a long leave, probably, ex-Pakistan leave, afterwards.

Chief Secretary Javed Mahmood said he had heard that the secretary was proceeding on leave, but nothing had been conveyed to him in writing. The Services and General Administration Department too had not received any application, though its senior official confirmed the development.

Sources said Mr Fawad had to go because of pressure from a senior PML-N minister who had turned against him after he (the bureaucrat) suspended some officials of his department during a recent visit to a South Punjab district.

They claimed that the officials were suspended on charges of inefficiency and corruption after the secretary got annoyed at the state of affairs in the district.

Sources claimed that the minister complained to the chief minister that he was linked to the conduct of the suspended officials, and the secretary would have to prove that allegation. “Either we or the secretary will have to go,” the sources quoted the minister as having told the chief minister.

They said the secretary also faced pressure from some MPAs who were allegedly supporting a construction company having problems because of him. The secretary was not succumbing to their undue demands, the sources claimed.

Some other sources alleged that the chief minister was not happy with the secretary's performance especially because of the non-utilisation of development funds during the last fiscal year.

Before his posting as C&W secretary on Nov 14, 2008, Mr Fawad was working as the services secretary. It was claimed that he was given the new assignment to accelerate the pace of work and purge the department of corrupt officials and contractors.

But soon after he assumed charge of his office, the entire department, including officers and clerks, and contractors went on strike due to various reasons, badly affecting the development work all over the province. He was the only government official against whom the staff and the contractors took out processions on The Mall.Mr Fawad had to leave his office along with other key officials of the PML-N government when the Governor's Rule was imposed in Punjab early this year.

Insiders said a recent incident at his house also went against him. He allegedly got annoyed with some officials after a new air-conditioner went out of order at his residence, and the matter was reported to higher authorities.

Officials in the services department said new posting would be made after the receipt of the leave application in black and white.

Mr Fawad was not available for comments despite repeated attempts by Dawn, but his friends in bureaucracy confirmed that he had gone on leave because of opposition to his straightforwardness, and he was unlikely to serve in Punjab.