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After NAB chief removal: Deputy chairman in trouble too

May 30, 2013

ISLAMABAD, May 29: The appointment of deputy chairman, National Accountability Bureau (NAB), is under the judicial scrutiny along with a number of high level appointments made by the previous government.

After the removal of NAB’s chairman Admiral (retired) Fasih Bokhari by the Supreme Court on Monday, Rear Admiral (retired) Saeed Ahmed Sargana, the deputy chairman, assumed the responsibilities to run day-to-day affairs of the bureau.

According to the documents available with Dawn, the appointment of Admiral Sargana is also under judicial scrutiny along with the 32 organisation’s heads and senior officials appointed in the autonomous bodies and corporations during the previous government.

The petitioner, Faisal Iqbal Khan, had moved a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC), on May 14 against the alleged political appointments made by the former PPP government in the autonomous bodies and corporations.

Besides, the Establishment Division has submitted a list of about three dozen persons to the Supreme Court who were appointed or re-employed on a contract basis in autonomous, semi-autonomous bodies, corporations and government owned companies.

Admiral Sargana is one of these appointees. The document said that he was appointed under section 7 of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) of 1999 on October 10, 2012 with the approval of President Asif Ali Zardari on a summary initiated by the NAB.

NAB’s spokesman Ramzan Sajid said the appointment of Admiral Sargana had been made under the relevant section of NAO and he could not be removed except on the ground of misconduct as defined in Sub-Rule (4) of Rule 2 of the Government Servants (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules, 1973.

The document revealed that the PPP government during its five-year tenure appointed 32 persons in different autonomous bodies and corporations.

The appointments by the former government continued till the last days as on March 15 it appointed a retired sessions judge Baqir Ali Rana as member National Industrial Relations Commission (NIRC) for a period of two years.

The other appointees of the former government under the scrutiny of the court are Justice (retired) Raja Fayyaz Ahmed chairman NIRC who was appointed last year for a period of four years and his term will expire on August 2016.

The list of officials included Khalid Javed, Executive director Lok Virsa; Chaudhry Riaz Ahmed, vice chairman Evacuee Trust Property Board; Shah Zaman Khan, managing director Shalimar Recording Company; Iqbal Nabi director general Urdu Science Board; Abdul Hameed chairman Pakistan Academy of Letters; Major General (retired) Mohammad Javed as CEO Pakistan Steel Mills, Saeed Ahmed chairman Ogra, Zafar Sheikh director general National Savings and Shaukat Kundi acting chairman Nepra.

The petition, filed in the IHC, termed the appointments in the government owned institutions political and requested the court to direct the upcoming government of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) to initiate the process for the appointment in the public sector organization in accordance with a merit based procedure. The court, however, is yet to pass its order in these matters.

Justice (retired) Tariq Mehmood commenting on the issue told Dawn that during the period of the last government a number of appointments had been made.

“Some appointments have been made by the prime minister and some were made by the board of governors of the department concerned,” he said “If some appointments were made on merit, they would get legal cover by the courts and it would also become difficult for the upcoming government to remove them from their positions prior to the expiry of their terms,” he added.

PPP’s central executive committee members, including Qamar Zaman Kaira, Imtiaz Safdar Warriach, and Jahangir Badar, could not be contacted on their cell phones. Similarly, Farahatullah Babar and Latif Khosa did not respond.

Finally PPP leader Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar responded to the call.

He said, “The government knows how to run the system. Therefore it tries to bring its own trustworthy and competent team.” He claimed the PPP government, during its five year tenure, inducted the best possible officials in the government sector organisations.

When asked why the inductions continued till the last days, Mr Khokhar replied, “These were some constitutional posts and if some of them were made in violation of the criteria, the courts have ample powers to set aside these appointments.”