A junior officer is overshadowing all administrative affairs in the Punjab Higher Education Department, Daily Times has learnt.Ishtiaq Ahmad, a grade 17 lecturer, is serving as the personal staff officer (PSO) to the HED minister. “Earlier, he was posted at Government College Pattoki. However, he managed to get deputation in the Punjab HED eight years ago. He now influences all important matters such as appointments on administrative posts in public-sector universities and colleges,” sources said. “The officer has been violating regulations. He also creates hurdles in the affairs of senior professors and principals of colleges and universities of the province. He delays the files and documents of senior professors who disobey his illegal orders. Public sector universities and colleges have complained to the officials against Ahmed and expressed reservations over his conduct. However, no action has been taken against him so far,” sources said.“Ahmad has been participating in syndicate meetings of universities even though participation of any outsider in syndicate meetings is illegal.” Requesting anonymity, an HED official said that there were score of complaints against Ahmad. “He is an influential person. So no action can be taken action against him without the permission of the minister. Ahmed is misusing his authority as he is serving the department for the past many years on deputation. He has developed strong political links,” he said.Sources said that Ahmed was being propped up by Punjab Governor’s Political Secretary Mian Kashif Iqbal. “He also has the backing of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid leader Imran Masood,” sources said. When contacted, HED Minister Hamayun Yasir rejected the claims. In a message to Daily Times, which was delivered by his public relations officer, the minister said that action would be taken against Ahmad if strong evidence was available against him.