EZDMC chief resigns before launch of Rashakai economic zone

Updated September 23, 2019

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Abrupt departure of Saeed Ahmed puts question mark on good governance in KP. — APP/File
Abrupt departure of Saeed Ahmed puts question mark on good governance in KP. — APP/File

PESHAWAR: The chief executive officer of Economic Zones Development and Management Company (EZDMC) has tendered resignation at a time when launch of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s largest industrial estate is just round the corner.

The EZDMC chief has cited ‘personal reasons’ for resignation from the post.

Saeed Ahmed, who had been heading the government-owned company for the last one and half years, emailed his resignation on Sunday to the secretary of industries department, who is also chairman of the company’s board.

Abrupt departure of Saeed Ahmed puts question mark on good governance in KP

The resignation letter, a copy of which is available with Dawn, states that he is resigning due to personal reasons as CEC with immediate effect from September 21.

Mr Ahmed said that he recently moved his family to Canada for his children education and was planning to return to continue his job, however, splitting the family at that stage while children were very young was going to be inappropriate and stressful for the family as well as himself. “As a result, my family and I decided to resign from the service,” he added.

The chairman of the board also confirmed that he received the resignation of CEO on Sunday.

Rumours of Mr Ahmed impending departure had been doing the rounds for a couple of weeks following he proceeded on a French leave after the industries secretary denied his leave application, citing upcoming signing of development agreement of Rashakai special economic zone.

In an August 27 dated letter addressed to the CEO, the industries department noted that with respect to his ex-Pakistan leave application dated August 16, 2019, the competent authority declined to accept his application on the grounds that his absence on leaves would severely affect finalisation of development agreement of Rashkai SEZ that was in final stages.

“The competent authority had also verbally informed you accordingly,” it said, adding that he could apply for ex-Pakistan leave at appropriate time in future.

However, turning down of his application for leaves from August 27 to Sept 2 did not deter Mr Ahmed and he proceeded on a French leave the same day. When he failed to return on September 2, the very next day the company’s board through a resolution authorised the chief commercial officer, Adil Salahuddin, to exercise the powers of CEO in his absence.

“In order to carry out smooth day-to-day operations of the company in absence of Mr Saeed Ahmed, the board of directors hereby resolves to delegate administrative and financial powers of CEO as envisaged in Clause 62 of the Articles of Association of the Company to Mr Adil Salahuddin being senior most officer with effect from September 3 till resumption of duties by Mr Saeed Ahmed,” said the resolution.

Sources told Dawn that instead of returning on September 2, Mr Ahmed sent another email to the industries secretary asking to grant him leave till September 20 that was also declined. Sources said that Mr Ahmed had claimed his gratuity and pulled out his children before submitting his leave application and when it was declined, he proceeded on French leave.

Another source termed the CEO’s sudden departure as dent to provincial government claims of good governance. “How head of an entity walks away in such a casual manner when the company is at the cusp of launch of its most significant project,” he questioned.

The source said that the board should be held responsible for his faulty selection and in later stages the management should be held accountable.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2019