Islamabad: Nargis Sethi, the incumbent Principal Secretary to the prime minister and Secretary Cabinet Division, who has been given the additional charge of Defense Secretary, following the sacking of Naeem Khlaid Lodhi, is considered one of the most powerful women of today’s Pakistan.
Amid brewing tension between military establishment and civilian government, which led to sacking of Defense Secretary Naeem Khalid Lodhi, Ms Sethi, who is dubbed a controversial bureaucrat, who prefers to please his political boss rather following rules and regulations, has assumed the daunting task of secretary defense in a most challenging time of the incumbent regime.
Ms Sethis is a DMG group officer, who enjoys close relations with Prime Minister and President Asif Ali Zardari. Her opponents allege that she was promoted by the prime minister in violation of rules and regulations and Supreme court’s verdict due to her closeness with influential people in power corridors. She is also being dubbed as de facto prime minister for her influences in power corridors. Her husband Saleem Sethi is also a beaurucit in Pakistan civil service.
Sethi is one of the only two civilian sectary defense the country had since its inception. Before the appointment of Sethi, Kamaran Rasool was the only civilian officer who had served as Secretary Defense, otherwise the post had always been occupied by retired military officials.