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Incumbent who fails to take care

May 20, 2013

LAHORE, May 19: As Caretaker Minister for Water and Power Mussadaq Malik prepares to hand over the charge of ministry to the next elected minister, he is leaving behind a sector totally run on an ad hoc basis.

The fact is that he received the sector almost in an identical situation, with most of the companies being run on “a current charge or look after basis”, but he only added to the list in the last over two months.

According to the power-sector analysts, a joint secretary, a deputationist from Nespak, was first given “look after charge of the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) and later asked to look after the most important National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC). Thus, the gentleman currently wears three caps: joint secretary in ministry, MD Pepco and MD NTDC. Incidentally, he is the fourth head of Pepco and NTDC in the last one year and all of them headed them on an ad hoc basis.”

During the last two months, the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) chief executive officer reached retirement age and was given extension. Later, Muhammad Yusuf Awan was made head of the company on a current-charge basis.

Similarly, Naveed Ismail, the chief executive officer of Genco Holding Company, was removed from his position and charge was given to Sultan Ahmad Zafar – again on a current-charge basis. Working under him are four generation companies (Genco I, II, III and IV), all of them being run with ad hoc appointees as their heads.

These appointments came on the top of almost all distribution companies being run on “a temporary, ad hoc, look after and additional charge basis.”

Muhammad Saleem is director technical of the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco), sitting on the CEO chair ‘temporarily’. The files he signs as director technical are also approved by him as the CEO.

Similarly, Iqbal Khan Malezai of the Multan Electric Supply Company (Mepco) is also looking after the company on a current-charge basis. Tariq Sadozai of the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) was appointed as a result of political deal two years ago and is still there to “look after” the office of the CEO.

Noor Ahmad Dayo of the Sukkur Electric Supply Company, Mehboob Alam of the Gujranwala Electric Supply Company, Baleegh-uz-Zaman of the Quetta Electric Supply Company and Abdul Jabbar Rana of the Faisalabad Electric Supply Company are also holding their seats either “till further order or temporarily.”

“That is precisely the point where major problem of the sector lies but no one is ready to correct it,” says former Pepco managing director. “Instead of hiring professional heads of the companies, inept people are appointed and promoted to sink the sector in deeper morass. One can give some margin to politicians for the compulsion of keeping their popular base, but what can one say if the technocrats also take the same route,” he lamented.