LAHORE: Senior District Management Group (DMG) officers have broken with tradition by apparently agreeing to serve under a junior officer of their cadre who will now have a major say in their promotions, The Express Tribune has learnt.
Four DMG officers senior to the new district coordination officer (DCO), Ahad Khan Cheema (BS-18), remain in the city district government serving beneath him. A number of senior DMG officers said they should quit in protest at the junior officer’s posting in the interest of the DMG’s integrity. One senior officer, embarrassed to serve under a junior, had had himself transferred.
Omer Rasool, director general of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA), was deputy director of the DMG campus in 2002 when Cheema joined it as a trainee officer after completing his mandatory training at the Civil Services Academy. He is now subordinate to his former student as the DCO is ex-officio chairman of the LDA. Rasool belongs to 18th common and is in BS-20. Cheema belong to 27th common and is in BS-18.
Rasool has been telling colleagues that seniority should not be an obstacle to working with someone, and that there should be a good working relationship between the DCO and the LDA.
Waseem Ajmal, managing director of Solid Waste Management, Lahore and a BS-19 officer, was Cheema’s boss in Faisalabad. He had the additional charge of DCO while Cheema was under training in Faisalabad.
Mudassar Waheed Malik, district officer at SWM Lahore, was also senior to Cheema but is now beneath him in the city district government’s administrative hierarchy.
Jabbar Shaheen, director general of the Parks and Horticulture Authority, is another BS-19 officer. He is now answerable to Cheema in the authority’s administrative affairs.
Rana Muhammad Arshad, a DMG officer in BS-19, managed to get himself transferred from the office of executive district officer (finance and planning), Lahore to the Communication and Works Department because he was reluctant to serve under a junior officer, said an official of the Services and General Administration Department (S&GAD).
As DCO, Cheema will write the annual confidential reports (ACRs) of his four senior DMG officers, setting a DMG precedent.
ACRs are critical to deciding promotions in the bureaucracy and negative remarks from the DCO could halt the promotion of these officers, a number of officers said.
In the recent past Javed Mehmood, a DMG officer in BS-21 and belonging to 7th common, was posted chief secretary of Punjab.
Farkhanda Wasim Afzal, a 5th common DMG officer, refused to work under the junior officer and preferred to become an officer on special duty (OSD).
A source in the S&GAD said Nasir Mehmood Khosa, chief secretary, transferred Cheema to the DCO’s office from the post of secretary of the Higher Education department to save himself the embarrassment of a BS-18 officer attending daily meetings with secretaries from other departments who were in BS-21. The post of department secretary is meant to be reserved for officers in at least BS-20. Cheema is not due for promotion to BS-19 until 2013. His posting as the youngest and most junior DCO of Lahore is also a violation, of Section 28 of the Local Government Ordinance, 2001, which says the DCO of a city district government like Lahore should be in BS-21.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2010.