LAHORE: The Punjab government has appointed a BS-18 District Management Group (DMG) officer as district coordination officer (DCO) of Lahore, an office reserved for BS-21 officers.
The new DCO, Ahad Khan Cheema, becomes the boss of over a dozen DMG and Provincial Management Service (PMS) officers in BS-19 and BS-20. Cheema is already facing a Lahore High Court case over his posting as secretary of the Higher Education Department, a post reserved for BS-20 or BS-21 officers.
On Thursday, the Services and General Administration Department (S&GAD) issued a formal notification removing Sajjad Ahmed Bhutta as DCO and making him an officer on special duty (OSD). A half-hour later, the department amended the order and posted Bhutta as chief economist in the Planning and Development Board, Punjab. Bhutta, who has a masters degree in English, never studied economics in his academic career. Cheema’s posting as head of the civil administration appears to be a violation of Section 28 of the Local Government Ordinance, 2001. It reads: “In every district, the government shall appoint a DCO who shall be a civil servant of the federation or of the province, in as far as possible in BS-20. Provided that in a city district government, the DCO may be a civil servant in BS-21.”
Cheema will be the most junior DCO since the ordinance was promulgated.
The new DCO, who has served as secretary of the Higher Education Department for over a year, is not scheduled for promotion to BS-19 until 2013. He has not yet attended a mid-career management course, which is mandatory for promotion to BS-19.
He will now have authority over senior officers, such as the director general of the Lahore Development Authority, Umer Rasool, who is a BS-20 DMG officer; the DG of the Parks and Horticulture Authority, Abdul Jabber Shaheen, who is a DMG officer in BS-19; and the executive district officer for Finance and Planning, Lahore, who is a DMG officer in BS-19.
According to official records, there are 13 BS 19-21 officers awaiting posting orders from the S&GAD.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2010.
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