ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Thursday restored the president and the chairman of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) to their posts by suspending the order that declared their appointments as void.
An IHC division bench comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Aamer Farooq took up appeals of the finance ministry and NBP challenging the single-member bench’s order. Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani of the IHC had last month set aside the appointments of NBP president Arif Usmani and chairman Zubair Soomro.
The federal minister for information had criticised the order, terming it judicial activism. In a tweet, he had said: “Shocked to read decision on removal of National Bank’s President. Failed to understand what our courts are trying to do. The country has already suffering billions of dollars loss due to judicial activism.”
Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan represented the finance ministry while senior counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan appeared on behalf of Arif Usmani before the IHC division bench.
AG Khan argued that publishing of vacant post was not mandatory under the law and requested the court to allow Mr Usmani to resume his office till adjudication of the appeals.
Subsequently, the division bench suspended the single bench’s decision, issued notices to the petitioners and adjourned the hearing.
Justice Kayani had declared the appointment of the NBP president as void, observing that it was done in violation of rules as Mr Usman possessed a degree in Physics instead of banking-related fields.
The petitioner had contended that the appointments had been made in violation of the constitutional rights that ensured equal opportunity to every citizen. The petition pointed out that Transparency International had highlighted corruption in NBP and its branches abroad were being closed.
The petition asserted that Mr Usmani did not meet the educational criteria set for the post in advertisement issued for the purpose. It said the appointment of Arif Usmani was a violation of rules as well as laws of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.
The petition said it was necessary for a candidate of this post to clear test and meet the required qualification, adding that a banking education-related degree was also required for the post, but Mr Usmani was holding BSC Physics degree.
Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2021