ISLAMABAD -  While the federal government lately opposed the ‘unceremonial’ transfer of Sindh police chief AD Khawaja by the provincial government, it has ‘abruptly’ transferred Interior Secretary Arif Ahmed Khan, barely over a year in office, because of his alleged differences with the interior minister.

“The services of Secretary Interior Arif Ahmed Khan have been given back to the Establishment Division with the approval of the Prime Minister and Additional Secretary Interior Tariq Mahmood Khan has been given acting charge of the post,” a spokesperson for the interior ministry said without divulging details of the abrupt transfer order.

Official sources said that Arif Khan wrote a letter to the prime minister on March 31, seeking one month leave. In the letter, according to the sources, Khan had mentioned that he would not be able to work as the interior secretary after he utilised the leave.

According to the sources, the former secretary’s differences with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan developed when the former issued landing permits to a military delegation from Malaysia.

According to a notification issued by the federal government, Arif Ahmed Khan would report back to the Establishment Division after completion of his one-month leave.

Arif Khan is the second senior bureaucrat to have been transferred within days after Islamabad Polic Inspector General Tariq Masood Yasin was removed from his position on March 31 over his alleged differences with the minister.

Arif Khan was posted as interior secretary in February last year. Prior to his posting as interior secretary, he was serving as secretary climate change.

He is not the first bureaucrat to have been removed because of his differences with the interior minister, three police chiefs of the Islamabad Capital Territory — Sikander Hayat, Aftab Ahmed Cheema and Tariq Masood Yasin —were removed from their positions on the same grounds.

Aftab Cheema had complained to the then secretary interior that some police officers, under his control, were in direct contact with the interior minister and he was being bypassed. 

Hours after his complaint, he was removed while the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek were staging a sit-in the federal capital.

Similarly, prior to his removal, Tariq Masood in a letter written to the Islamabad Chief Commissioner pointed out ‘clear interference’ by the interior ministry and the commissioner office in internal posting and transfer matters of Islamabad police.

The official sources claimed that Yasin had also reservations over ‘direct contact’ of some of his junior officers with the interior minister.

Nisar was said to be unhappy with Yasin after he issued a public statement stating that a Mumbai-like terrorist attack was averted in the capital. According to the interior minister, the statement caused unnecessary fear among the residents and the diplomatic community.

The incumbent Director General of the Federal Investigation Agency Amlaish Khan, an officer of Police Service of Pakistan, has also been relegated to a toothless head as he did not have good terms with the interior minister, the sources claimed.

According to the sources, Amlaish had had a heated argument with Nisar during a meeting before he walked out of the on-going meeting.

The interior ministry did not comment on the matter when approached for comments.