LAHORE: On the controversy involving the Punjab Assembly senior secretary’s sons who tortured a traffic warden the other day, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif removed him from the post, but the speaker – as the head of the assembly secretariat – sent him on a long leave, holding inquiry against him.
According to a handout issued on Friday, the chief minister ordered to remove senior secretary Rai Mumtaz Hussain Babar from his post on the issue, but the assembly sources confirmed to Daily Times that only the speaker can take any action against the assembly officers, and he – using his principle authority – did not issue any notification of the secretary’s removal from the post until the filing of this report.
The sources also confirmed to this scribe that the chief minister had no authority to remove any staffers of the assembly by law. The sources also confirmed that the assembly’s senior secretary of Grade-21 had gone on a long leave of a month, and the additional charge of his post had been notified in the name of Additional Secretary (Legislation) Hafiz Muhammad Shafique Aadil of Grade-20.
On the other hand, sources within the Chief Minister’s Secretariat said that Shahbaz Sharif had removed the secretary after confirming the presence and his support to traffic violators, who beat a warden publicly on Thursday evening at Mozang Chungi.
An official handout numbered 627 was also issued on Friday evening regarding this, in which it was stated that the Punjab CM had taken a strict notice of the incident of violence against a traffic warden by the sons of the Punjab Assembly secretary and removed him from the post declaring that supremacy of laws would be ensured at any cost.
On Thursday evening, warden Waqas Shahid stopped a motorcyclist Rai Najaf – a son of Rai Mumtaz – who was violating traffic rules of one-way near his residence, and tried to issue him a ticket. After some arguments, they started quarrelling and the violator called his father (Rai Mumtaz), brother (Rai Afzal) and two friends, who were staying at a house near the official residence of the assembly secretary.
Meanwhile, some traffic wardens also reached the venue to support their colleague, and a scuffle between both the sides started.
The Lytton Road police arrested both the sons of the assembly secretary and registered a case against them, who on Saturday morning was bailed out from a court after submitting Rs 50,000 in cash as penalty.
The police sources told this scribe that two accomplices of the violators who were also involved in torturing the traffic warden were on the run, and raids were being conducted in order to arrest them.
Parliamentary sources told Daily Times that Rai Mumtaz held a special meeting with PA Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan to rescue him, providing him the details of the incidents.
The sources said that the secretary told the speaker that he was neither involved in the torture nor provoked the matter, but was present there to resolve the matter amicably and in a peaceful manner.
Sources also informed that some advisers told Rai Mumtaz Hussain that he could be removed from his post by his presence at the spot, so he should go on a long leave from the office to secure his job or at least until the completion of the inquiry against him.
Following the advice, he applied for a month-long leave on Friday morning to the speaker, which was accepted, and he was discharged from the office for a month.
On the other hand, the sources in the CM’s Secretariat said that an initial investigating report was provided to Shahbaz Sharif in which the presence of the senior secretary was confirmed, so the CM issued orders for his removal from the post with immediate effect.
Rai Mumtaz Hussain Babar is 54 years old, having experience of assembly affairs of 27 years. He was promoted as senior secretary after the retirement of his predecessor last year. He was residing in an official home given by the government in GOR-II, Bahawalpur House.
The assembly sources also informed Daily Times that the sitting secretary of the PA, Muhammad Khan Bhatti, or Director General (Parliamentary Affairs and Research) Inayatullah Lak could be considered for the post of new senior secretary of the assembly to run the assembly secretariat businesses in a proper way.
Though, Muhammad Khan Bhatti (born in 1968), who joined the Civil Secretariat in 1988 and joined the assembly secretariat in 1996, is on a long leave for the past four years from the secretariat. He has been serving as secretary (Grade-21) since 2008. He has also served as additional secretary and special secretary in the Chief Minister’s Secretariat on deputation.
A strong candidate for the secretaryship is Lak (born in 1963), an LLB degree holder who joined the PA Secretariat as librarian in 1987. He was promoted to Grade-20 as DG (parliamentary affairs and research) in 2007.
Some assembly sources also told this scribe that Hafiz Muhammad Shafique, who is serving in Grade-20 as additional secretary, now has an experience of more than 30 years of the assembly affairs, especially regarding legislations in the House, so he could also be considered for this post in case the issue of Rai Mumtaz gets worse in the coming days.
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