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Is Dr Raheal Siddiqi An ‘Unsuccessful’ Bureaucrat In Punjab?

Government circles are divided over un-ceremonial transfers of Mr Siddiqi as one school of thought say he became the victim to anti-Buzdar lobby in PTI who wants to weaken CM while the other school say the officer's incompetence led to his frequent transfers

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By Faisal Ali Ghumman

Punjab government led by Sradar Usman Bozdar has recently appointed a senior bureaucrat of Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS)- Dr Raheal Ahmed Siddiqi- as Secretary Higher Education Punjab only a couple of weeks after he was removed un-ceremonially from the post of Secretary Finance Punjab.

The officer in question spent only 15 days with the finance ministry and was transferred to be posted as Secretary Higher Education Punjab, a considerably demoted position among the administrative secretaries.

Interestingly, Mr Siddiqi, a BS-21 officer from 21st Common, was appointed Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Punjab in September 2018 after getting transferred from the post of Chairperson Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA).

An informed source at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat confided to lahoremirror.com that CM Buzdar had appointed Mr Siddiqi his principal secretary because of their past acquaintance as both belong to South Punjab and have family terms.

The officer belongs to Bahawalpure and has served as District Coordination Officer Bahawalpure and other districts in South Punjab in the past.

Mr Siddiqi ‘failed’ to come up to the expectations of the CM despite having seven months around with the latter

The source, who is a senior officer in the Punjab government, said Mr Siddiqi ‘failed’ to come up to the expectations of the CM despite having seven months around with the latter.

“Mr Buzdar had appointed Mr Siddiqi under an impression that the latter would help him running the province in a professional and wise manner as Mr Buzdar was a layman in administrative manners. But the bureaucrat failed to do so that got the chief minister disappointed,” said the officer.

Mr Siddiqi was eventually transferred and posted Secretary Finance on April 14, this year, but he hardly survived for 15 days and was again transferred to be posted as Secretary Higher Education Punjab against an existing vacancy. A junior officer with BS-20 or BS-19 is usually posted Secretary HE.

Sources claim Mr Siddiqi apparently got frustrated after being demoted from the higher post of Principal Secretary to CM and couldn’t regain confidence to the run the finance ministry, usually considered a key position, despite having four years experience in running affairs of the Punjab Revenue Authority.

However, another reliable source close to the Chief Secretary Punjab’s circles claimed Chief Secretary Yousuf Naseem Khokhar was ‘dead-set’ against Mr Siddiqi for a reason best known to both of them.

He said Mr Siddiqi was removed from the post of Secretary Finance at a time when he was representing the provincial government in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

It was not CM who actually removed Mr Siddiqi as it was a lobby in PTI that wanted to cut Buzdar to size as the bureaucrat was considered the CM’s most trusted man

The source said it was not CM who actually removed Mr Siddiqi as it was a lobby in PTI that wanted to cut Buzdar to size as the bureaucrat was considered the CM’s most trusted man.

He further explained tussle between Punjab Governor Ch Sarwar and Jhanagir Tareen was said to be root cause behind the efforts to weaken Buzdar.

The source further said as CS was already against Raheal Siddiqi, the task of his removal was easily accomplished, adding the posting of Mr Siddiqi as Secretary HE is testimonial to the fact that he was victimized by his superior officers.

“It has nothing to do with the competence or incompetence of Mr Siddiqi but political tussles with PTI has made a weak CM more toothless”, the source claimed, adding Secretary Coordination to Chief Minister Dr Muhammad Shoaib Akbar has been given the look-after charge of the PS to CM that means the officer in legal terms can only look after day to day work and can’t give his full input.

According to an official, the PS to CM with look-after charge can’t even sign a files on behalf of CM.

Mr Akbar, who is originally from the Office Management Group/Secretariat Group, has served the PML-N-led government as Special Secretary Home and Secretary Home. He was reportedly one of the closet members of Shehbaz’s team as he remained on key posts most of the time.

Mr Siddiqi has been credited with successfully improving the revenues of PRA during the era of Shehbaz Sharif as CM and has previously proved his mettle as Chairman Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Revenue Authority.

Mr Siddiqi was not available for his detailed point of view as lahoremirror.com sent text messages to his personal cell number and kept waiting for the response.— LAHORE MIRROR

–The writer is columnist, Editor-in-Chief lahoremirror.com, Ex-Editor Daily The Business and Ex-Correspondent Daily Dawn 

He can be reached at alfaysal77@gmail.com, https://twitter.com/alfaysal77, https://www.facebook.com/LahoreMirror

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