Federal Secretary

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The Federal Secretary (also referred to as the Secretary to the Government of Pakistan) is the highest-ranking position in the Government of Pakistan, occupied by the most senior civil servant in a specific Ministry or Division. The Secretary is the administrative head of that Ministry or Division and oversees and enforces public policy matters.[1][2] The authority for the creation of this post solely rests with the Cabinet of Pakistan. The position holder is a BPS-22 grade officer, usually belonging to the Pakistan Administrative Service.[3][4][5]

The federal secretaries are the highest-ranking government officials in Pakistan

All promotions and appointments to this rank and post are directly made by the Prime Minister of Pakistan.[6][7] The post of Federal Secretary is equivalent to that of Chief Secretary of a provincial Government (within their respective provinces) and to the rank of Lieutenant General in Pakistan Army, Air Marshal in Pakistan Air Force and Vice Admiral in Pakistan Navy.[8][9]

Due to the importance of their respective assignments, there are twelve specific federal secretaries which are considered to be the most vital in the Government of Pakistan. These include the Secretary Establishment (responsible for civil service matters), Secretary Commerce (responsible for trade), Secretary Cabinet (responsible for Cabinet Division), Secretary to the Prime Minister (responsible for Prime Minister's Office), Secretary Interior (responsible for law and order), Secretary Finance (responsible for the country's treasury), Secretary Foreign Affairs (responsible for foreign relations), Secretary Maritime Affairs (responsible for ports and shipping), Secretary Power (responsible for the electricity and power sector), Secretary Planning and Development (responsible for development projects), Secretary Petroleum (responsible for the petroleum sector) and Secretary Industries (responsible for industrial development).[10]

Powers and responsibilities[edit]

The Federal Secretary is the administrative head of the Ministry or Division,[11] and is the principal adviser to the Minister on all matters of policy and administration within the Ministry/Division.[12]

The role of Secretary is as follows:[12]

  • To act as the administrative head of the Ministry or Division. The responsibility in this regard is complete and undivided.
  • To act as the chief adviser to the Minister on all aspects of policy and administrative affairs.
  • To represent the Ministry/Division before the Standing Committees of the Parliament.

Perception and image[edit]

The federal secretaries are the most senior and experienced officers in the country and are largely considered to be the most powerful individuals in the government.[13][14][15][16] Promotion to the rank of Federal Secretary is regarded as a very tough task given the high level of scrutiny taken into place when the promotions are done by the High Powered Selection Board (HPSB) which is chaired by the Prime Minister.[17] As the career service of federal secretaries and other bureaucrats are immune to the transition of political governments, they are seen as the real policy-makers who govern the country and serve as the spinal cord for the establishment.[18]

Federal Secretary slots[edit]

Notable Federal Secretaries[edit]


  1. ^ "First batch of newly promoted grade 22 officers meets PM". Pakistantoday.com.pk. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Promotions: PM appoints 15 federal secretaries - The Express Tribune". Tribune.com.pk. 7 January 2015. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  3. ^ "PAKISTAN ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICE - CSA". csa.edu.pk. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  4. ^ Asad, Malik (21 February 2017). "Top bureaucrats promoted to grade 22". Dawn.com. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Top six beareaucrats". www.thenews.com.pk. Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  6. ^ Siddiqui, Naveed (13 February 2017). "Tehmina Janjua becomes first woman to be appointed Pakistan's foreign secretary". Dawn.com. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  7. ^ Shahzad, Mirza Khurram (4 June 2015). "Analysis: Promotion dilemma of bureaucracy".
  8. ^ "Shahid Mehmood becomes new finance secretary - The Express Tribune". Tribune.com.pk. 18 June 2017. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  9. ^ "PM approves major reshuffle in federal govt posts - The Express Tribune". Tribune.com.pk. 19 February 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  10. ^ "Top 6 bureaucrats promoted to BS-22". www.thenews.com.pk. November 19, 2018.
  11. ^ "Cabinet Secretariat". cabinet.gov.pk. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Cabinet Secretariat". cabinet.gov.pk. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Major changes in bureaucracy, secretaries replaced - The Express Tribune". Tribune.com.pk.
  14. ^ "PM appoints Cabinet, Establishment secretaries". Pakistantoday.com.pk. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  15. ^ "All is not well between country's two top offices". Thenews.com.pk. Retrieved 6 November 2017.
  16. ^ "Lobbying on for post of finance secretary - The Express Tribune". Tribune.com.pk. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  17. ^ Asad, Malik (7 October 2017). "Selection board drops top bureaucrats for promotions". Dawn.com. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  18. ^ "Top bureaucratic promotions in limbo over PML-N internal strife". Daily Times. October 1, 2017.