Dawn News

Stay order against top Pesco posting vacated

PESHAWAR, June 19: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday dismissed a writ petition of 10 Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) officials, including the acting chief executive officer, who had sought issuance of orders for the CEO appointment on seniority-cum-fitness from among the officials.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth pronounced a short order observing that reasons for dismissal of the petition would be recorded later on.

It also vacated a stay order earlier issued by it to stop the federal government and the water and power ministry from appointing the CEO.

The petition was initially filed by nine senior officials of Pesco, but last week the court allowed an application filed by the acting CEO, Abdul Lateef Khan, and included him as co-petitioner in the case.

The respondents in the petition were the federation of Pakistan through water and power secretary, cabinet division secretary, Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) through its chairman, Pesco board of directors, and Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco).

Abdul Lateef Afridi and Ghulam Mohiuddin Malik defended petitioners, while Naeem Bukhari represented the federation and other respondents.

Mr Afridi and Mr Malik said after Wapda’s power wing was wound up, all employees were adjusted or absorbed in the distribution companies created in Wapda in accordance with respective options, and same was the case with the Pesco.

They contended that so far rules had not been framed for Pesco and it had adopted the Pakistan Wapda Rules 1966 under which the posts of managing director, general manager and chief engineer had to be filled through the seniority-cum-fitness policy. They added that when Wapda was taken over by army, it changed the nomenclature of general manager to that of the CEO.

The petitioners stated that by the end of last year the government had advertised posts of the CEO of different distribution companies including Pesco and had also called applications from outside the company which was illegal.

Mr Malik referred to a news item saying the government had entered into a secret deal with Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman under which his nominee had to be appointed as the Pesco CEO. He added that now according to the merit list prepared by the board of director (BoD), the said nominee, Brigadier Tariq Sadozai, was on the top followed by Abdul Lateef. He questioned how a non-professional and non-engineer could be appointed as CEO from outside as it would ruin the company and its functioning.

Mr Naeem Bukhari raised preliminary objection to the petition contending that it was not maintainable. He said the Pesco was not listed on stock exchange and it had no statutory rules. He added that the adoption of the Wapda Rules of 1966 could not be termed as statutory rules and therefore, the petitioners had no locus standi to move the high court.

He said as respondents belonged to Islamabad, the case didn’t fall in the jurisdiction of the PHC but in that of the Islamabad High Court. He said the BoD would make recommendation which would be sent to the water and power division and onward to the prime minister for appointment.


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