Punjab chief secretary requests federal govt to ‘withdraw his services’ with immediate effect

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LAHORE: Punjab Chief Secretary (CS) Kamran Ali Afzal penned a letter on Saturday to the federal government, conveying his inability to continue his current assignment “owing to personal reasons” and requesting that his services be withdrawn with immediate effect.

Omar Sarfraz Cheema, adviser to Punjab chief minister on information, was questioned about the matter during a press conference in Lahore and said it had nothing to do with the PTI.

“What his role has been in the last 2.5-3 months is before you and maybe he did not feel [right] about moving forward together because he has his own priorities and service career [to think about],” Cheema said.

Afzal’s appointment was approved in September 2021 when PTI’s Usman Buzdar was in charge. He was the fifth Punjab chief secretary during the three years of the previous PTI-led government and belonged to the 21st Common of the District Management Group.

Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi had expressed his annoyance at Afzal and former police chief Rao Sardar Ali Khan over their action against PTI legislators and deploying the police force on the floor of the Punjab Assembly earlier this year.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan, in his public meetings, had also lambasted the chief secretary, former police chief, as well as commissioners and deputy commissioners — particularly those posted in Lahore and Layyah in the wake of the PTI’s long march on Islamabad on May 25.

PTI leaders had warned the officers that they would initiate legal and departmental actions against them on coming to power again.

On some occasions, Imran had ‘called’ names of both the top Punjab government officers in his public meetings and announced making them an example, accusing them of taking the side of the ruling PML-N.

According to some media reports, Rao Sardar Ali Khan and Afzal had requested the government to transfer them out of Punjab, fearing punitive action after the change of government in the province in the wake of the chief minister’s re-election.

Sources had that in April, the two were summoned by former Punjab CM Usman Buzdar. Buzdar, flanked by Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leaders, insisted that they should round up PTI dissident MPAs and ensure that they should not vote for the opposition’s CM candidate.

The chief secretary and former police chief were said to have refused to indulge in the illegal activity and the PML-Q leaders had demanded that they both be replaced.

Sources had said the then chief minister had moved two summaries for the prime minister to replace the chief secretary and the police chief.