IHC questions PM aide’s powers for PTDC layoffs

Updated 10 Jul 2020

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IHC took up the petition and asked how could Zulfi Bukhari, being the acting chairman of the PTDC, take such a major decision. — Twitter/File
IHC took up the petition and asked how could Zulfi Bukhari, being the acting chairman of the PTDC, take such a major decision. — Twitter/File

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday questioned the powers of Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Sayed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari for sacking employees of the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) being the acting chairman of the corporation.

The PTDC has recently shut down 36 motels and fired up to 450 employees. The government has offered financial assistance package to the laid-off employees, but they have rejected it and a former employee of the PTDC challenged the decision in the IHC.

Justice Aamer Farooq of the IHC took up the petition and asked how could Mr Bukhari, being the acting chairman of the PTDC, take such a major decision.

“Is there not a single eligible person in the country who could be appointed as a regular managing director?” asked the judge.

Wonders why a managing director cannot be appointed on a regular basis

He clubbed together different petitions filed against the appointment of Mr Bu­­khari and fixed them for hearing on July 22.

A petition jointly filed by 14 employees of the PTDC has also challenged the appointment of Intikhab Alam as the PTDC managing director.

The petitioners also questioned the establishment of the National Tourism Coordination Board (NTCB), saying that after devolution of tourism to the provinces, the formation of the NTCB was unconstitutional.

The petition alleged that “personal friendship of the respondent No. 4 (Mr Bukhari) with the prime minister is an open secret. He is less than 40 and currently enjoying multiple influential positions in the federal government set-up. He has been raised and brought up in the United Kingdom but due to his personal friendship with the prime minister, he was first appointed as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development and then made the Chairman of NTCB Board. Later, he was also made the Chairman of the PTDC Board”.

Published in Dawn, July 10th, 2020