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Court stays termination notice for BOK chief

Updated September 13, 2017

PESHAWAR: A Peshawar High Court bench on Tuesday suspended the provincial government’s notice for the termination from service issued to Bank of Khyber managing director Shamsul Qayyum, who claimed he was victimised as he had resisted political interference in the affairs of the bank by the finance minister.

Justice Roohul Amin Khan Chamkani and Justice Mohammad Younis Taheem issued the order in this respect after the preliminary hearing into a petition filed by Mr Qayyum with the direction for the government not to take further action against the petitioner over the impugned termination notice issued to him on Sept 6.

The bench adjourned proceedings asking the government to explain its position on the petition on the next hearing, whose schedule will be announced afterwards.

The KP finance department has issued a ‘termination notice’ to the petitioner on Sep 6 stating that the provincial cabinet unanimously decided to issue him (petitioner) the seven-day prior written termination notice.

Stops govt from taking further action against MD Shamsul Qayyum

It added that after the expiry of seven-day notice, his (petitioner) contractual agreement would cease to exist.

The petitioner requested the court to declare ‘unlawful, abuse of power and based on mala fide’ the issuance of termination notice to him by the finance department on Sept 6.

He prayed the court to declare that the petitioner in view of outstanding performance has vested right to be re-appointed for another two years to complete five years tenure in term of Section 12 of the Bank of Khyber Act and the refusal of the respondents including the provincial government was illegal and based on mala fide.

Abdul Rauf Rohaila, lawyer for the petitioner, said his client was appointed as the BOK managing director for a period of three years under Section 12 of the BOK Act and that the notification of his appointment was issued on Oct 1, 2014.

He requested the bench to suspend the termination notice until the disposal of the petition.

Additional advocate general Rab Nawaz and deputy advocate general Riaz Paindakhel appeared for the provincial government whereas advocate Atif Ali Khan represented the provincial finance minister, Muzzaffar Syed.

The government’s counsel requested the court not to suspend the notice until Thursday as the advocate general would appear in this case.

Mr Rohaila said the notice would become effective in a day and the petitioner services would stand terminated and therefore, the court should suspend action on it.

He said by virtue of BPRD (Banking Policy and Regulation Department) Circular No. 09 of 2008 issued on Aug 19, 2008, amendments had been made in Regulation G-1 of Prudential Regulations.

The lawyer said the amendment provided that whenever the board of directors or relevant appointing authority consider to remove its president, chief executive officer, country head and country manager before expiration of his/her term of office through the defined statutory process, State Bank of Pakistan, must invariably be informed at least two months ahead of the implementation of such decision along with reasons for the same.

He pointed out that in the instant case the government had not informed the State Bank of Pakistan about issuance of termination notice to the petitioner.

The bench asked whether the regulation had to be followed in the presence of a special law under which the BOK was set up.

The lawyer replied that the said regulation was binding on all banks.

He argued that from time to time, instructions were issued by the office of the finance minister, while political gatherings were arranged in the garb of the opening of the bank’s branches by the said respondent and that a huge amount owned by the BOK accountholders had to be incurred.

Mr Rohaila said the finance minister followed by his political party (Jamaat-i-Islami) began campaign against the petitioner and BOK management and stories appeared in newspapers on Apr 14, 2016.

He said since the allegations of the finance minister were without substance, in consequence of the consensus of the members of the BOK board of directors, a clarification was published in newspapers on Apr 15, 2016, which annoyed the minister.

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2017