Bureaucrats decline Presidency posting amid bills controversy


ISLAMABAD: The reluctance in bureaucratic circles has become apparent after Humera Ahmed turned down the offer to serve as the President’s Principal Secretary (PS).

According to Dawn.com, President Arif Alvi on Monday recommended the services of Waqar Ahmed to be dismissed and urged the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to appoint Humera Ahmed as his replacement.

However, Humera Ahmed, a BPS-22 officer who assumed the role of federal secretary of the national heritage and culture division, declined the position as the President’s PS, according to sources cited by Dawn.

In the wake of her refusal, no other official has been designated for the Presidency thus far.

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The reports said that Humera Ahmed’s decision was unexpected as she had previously held the role of acting principal secretary to the President.

The reports indicated that after Humera Ahmed’s refusal, President Alvi would have to continue with Waqar Ahmed as his principal secretary.

Simultaneously, the PMO has appeared to be unresponsive to the President’s plea for a change in his principal secretary.

Meanwhile, a PMO official said that the President should approach the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to facilitate the change of his principal secretary.

The official clarified that the ECP has placed a restriction on the interim government’s authority to appoint and transfer senior bureaucrats without the commission’s approval.

However, recent events have seen over two dozen federal secretaries and institution heads being transferred as per the ECP’s directives.

The matter gained prominence on Sunday when President Alvi stated that he had not granted assent to two contentious bills, the Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill 2023 and the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill 2023, placing blame on his staff for misinformation.

Following this, on Monday, President Alvi communicated via a letter to Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Dr. Tauqir Shah, urging the appointment of a new PS for the presidency.

Meanwhile, Waqar Ahmed also corresponded with President Alvi, requesting him the reversal of the decision to remove him as PS and asserting his willingness to establish his innocence.

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