ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the high-powered promotions board has been scheduled for Monday (tomorrow) to consider the promotion cases of dozens of bureaucrats from grade 21 to 22. However, well-placed sources said that the meeting was most likely going to be postponed again as had happened twice before. The meeting has been overdue since July when grade 22 vacancies became available. Initially, the meeting of the promotion board, headed by the prime minister, was delayed due to pre-occupation of the ruling party with the Panama case and the subsequent decision that disqualified former PM Nawaz Sharif. The meeting was then rescheduled for mid-September. However, it could not be convened as the top leadership of the ruling party was not on the same page over the promotion of several federal secretaries, who would then go on to govern the countries for the next three to five years. The discretionary powers to promote a qualifying civil servant of grade 21 to the highest grade in bureaucracy lies with the chief executive of the administration. However, sources said that Nawaz Sharif still made all the key decisions in the ruling party. “The incumbent PM is just a temporary arrangement. On the other hand, PM Abbasi is trying his best to add his favourites to the list of prospective federal secretaries,” sources said. “Therefore, Monday’s meeting is likely going to be rescheduled due to this unsaid disagreement between the incumbent and the former PM’s opinion over the promotions,” sources said. At present, a number of key ministries are running without grade 22 federal secretaries. Additional secretaries of grade 21 are heading the ministries on ad-hoc basis. The shortage of grade 22 secretaries is evident from the fact that the Establishment Division is being headed by a grade 21 officer. According to bureaucratic traditions in Pakistan, the most senior grade 22 officers are appointed as principal secretary to the PM and Cabinet secretaries. Published in Daily Times, October 1st 2017.