MUZAFFARABAD: The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government on Tuesday appointed Midhat Shahzad, a BS-20 officer of the secretariat group, as secretary information, tourism, archaeology and information technology.

Ms Shahzad had been serving the federal government since 2011 on deputation, and was repatriated to AJK in December last year.

Ms Shahzad carries the distinction of being first female secretary to the government in AJK, a feat she achieved in 2008 after her elevation as secretary presidential affairs and information technology.

Interestingly, Ms Shahzad had qualified the Public Service Commission examination for the post of assistant commissioner (AC) in 1991, but the then government appointed her as section officer in civil secretariat, assuming that a woman could hardly handle an administrative position, like that of an AC, in a conservative as well as hilly region of AJK.

Speaking to Dawn, Ms Shahzad said heading the information secretariat was a challenging task but she would carry it out to the satisfaction of both the government and journalist community.

Ms Shahzad has replaced Mansoor Qadir Dar, who was transferred as secretary local government and rural development, a position that fell vacant after Dr Mahmoodul Hassan Raja obtained premature retirement for unknown reasons with effect from Dec 31.

Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2018

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