LAHORE, April 23, 2011: Punjab Health Secretary Fawad Hasan Fawad was removed here on Saturday to the utter delight of the doctors who were not happy with his alleged autocratic attitude.
The news of the transfer of the secretary considered to be close to the chief minister spread in a jiffy and took many by surprise.
He was replaced by Livestock Secretary Dr Jehanzeb, also a DMG officer who is considered a man of an altogether different deportment.
Mr Fawad was posted as prosecution secretary — a job which many believe suits his temperament.
Sources told Dawn that the chief minister started his working day in Lahore after returning from China by ordering replacement of Mr Fawad. Soon afterwards the replacement was sought in one hour.
Mr Fawad was the first services secretary of the present Shahbaz-led government. During his tenure hundreds of contract or re-employed officials were removed from service and hundreds of others of all ranks were transferred, creating a stir in the administrative system in the province.
Engineers, officials and even contractors attached with the Communication and Works Department had staged protests soon after Mr Fawad was made its secretary. The protests continued for quite some time and finally he had to leave his post after an influential PML-N leader from south Punjab and a number of MPAs stood against him.
The ouster of Mr Fawad on Saturday was celebrated by the ‘crowded’ health department especially doctors of all ranks who were not happy with him. The young doctors reportedly distributed sweets in the General and Services hospitals and offered thanksgiving prayers.
Removal of Mr Fawad was one of the major demands the doctors had put forward during their over one-month strike that ended up claiming many lives due to a lack of care.
Senior doctors quietly exchanged greetings over the removal of Mr Fawad whom they disliked for his “harsh attitude”. Many would be called for brief meetings but made to wait for hours, which they abhorred.
They gave vent to their anger by tacitly supporting the strike of the young doctors, which took an ugly turn when they stopped treating patients even in the emergency wards.
The growing perception was that the situation aggravated because the health secretary did not properly handle the young doctors. He went on a course before the strike began and later gave little time or importance to the issue when it was slipping out of the government’s hands.
Finally, the chief minister called the young doctors and made them end their strike but only after the matter was taken up by the Lahore High Court.
At that time the government had said it would not transfer the health secretary to avoid giving the impression that it had succumbed to the pressure exerted by the agitation.
But inner circles realised that Mr Fawad could not rebuild relations with the doctors and they would have to replace him.
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