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Government removes Secretary Finance ahead of budget

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The government, in a surprisingly hasty move, has replaced the Secretary of Finance two weeks before the budget presentation for the next fiscal year 2021-2022.

It has now assigned the responsibilities to Yusuf Khan, who is the current Secretary of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

The federal government, in a notification issued, said that Yusuf Khan, a BS-21 officer of the Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) presently Secretary BISP, is posted as Additional Secretary (in-charge) Finance Division with immediate effect. 

The removed Secretary of Finance, Kamran Afzal, has now been posted as the Secretary of the Ministry of Industries and Production until further notice.

As per commentators, Yusuf Khan fails to meet the criteria of serving in grade 21. He has to serve in the grade for a minimum of two years before his promotion to grade 22. This move, if challenged in the court of law, can be declared null and void.

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It is being said that Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Finance and Revenue, Dr. Waqar Masood Khan has played a role in posting Yusuf Khan as Finance Secretary. Yusuf Khan also happens to be the brother-in-law of the Chief Justice Islamabad High Court.

The ousted Dr. Kamran Afzal served as finance secretary for nearly five months. Yusuf Khan, who was serving as Secretary BISP, is the only grade-21 officer who has been posted as Finance Secretary in recent history.

Hamid Yaqoob Sheikh was Government’s first choice for finance secretary. He is currently serving as Planning and Development Secretary and preferred to stay in the planning ministry

After key changes for the appointment of Dr. Waqar Masood as SAPM on Finance and Revenue and Shaukat Tarin as Minister for Finance, it is being thought that further and massive bureaucratic changes are to happen after the budget presentation.

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