PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Thursday reinstated former managing director of Bank of Khyber Saiful Islam after declaring his removal by the provincial government illegal.

A bench consisting of Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Mohammad Naeem Anwar ordered Mr Saif’s restoration by accepting his petition, which challenged the termination of his service by the government on Sept 26, 2019.

It pronounced a short order in that respect after the petitioner, provincial government and the bank finished arguments.

Detailed judgment in the case will be released later.

The respondents in the petition are the provincial government through its chief secretary, provincial finance secretary, Bank of Khyber board of directors through its chairman, BOK human resource and remuneration committee through its chairman, and State Bank of Pakistan through its chief manager.

The petitioner had also requested the court to declare illegal and without jurisdiction the entire proceedings initiated by the bank’s HRRC, production of ‘so-called’ recommendations by it and the alleged approval of his removal by the BoD.

Imtiaz Ali, lawyer for the petitioner, said his client was condemned unheard and his services were dispensed with by the government without him being given the opportunity of hearing.

He said the petitioner was a senior banking professional with a long, well-rounded experience of over four decades in business, operations and specialised asset management functions.

The lawyer said the post of BOK managing director was advertised by the government in 2017 and the petitioner was appointed against the said post after fulfilling all codal formalities through a notification on Dec 4, 2018.

The counsel said on Sept 24, he received a letter from the HRRC that declared that on the basis of certain complaints by bank employees, the committee in a meeting on Aug 21 had decided to conduct an initial fact finding probe to find out if there is any prima facie force in those complaints.

He added that the petitioner was called to explain position on allegations within five days.

The lawyer said the terms of reference of that committee revealed that it had no power to initiate any disciplinary proceedings against the MD.

He added that despite his reservations and notwithstanding the fact that the allegations contained in the so-called explanation letter were vague and unsubstantiated, unsusceptible of a proper reply, his client submitted a detailed reply under protest on Sept 24.

The lawyer said his client received the impugned termination order from the provincial government on Sept 26 over ‘gross misconduct, lack of requisite qualities, skills and integrity’.

He added that the order disclosed that the HRRC in its meeting allegedly held on Sept 25 had found the petitioner guilty of gross misconduct and had recommended the termination of his services.

The lawyer said the government had illegally and erroneously relied upon the so-called recommendations of the HRRC allegedly approved by the board in the case without carrying out any proceedings against the petitioner.

The counsel for the government and the bank contended that the appointment agreement of the petitioner declared that his services could be terminated anytime without any notice.

They added that the said agreement was signed by both parties without any duress.

The counsel said the petitioner had admitted in reply to the charge sheet against him that the bank was running at a loss.

Published in Dawn, June 5th, 2020