Tabish Gauhar resigns as SAPM on power, petroleum

Published September 21, 2021
A file photo of Tabish Gauhar. — Dawn/File
A file photo of Tabish Gauhar. — Dawn/File

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Power and Petroleum Tabish Gauhar announced on Tuesday that he had resigned from the post, almost a year after his appointment.

"After a year of public service, I’ve decided to call it a day to return to my family. It’s been the privilege of a lifetime to serve the country, to the best of my abilities, in an honorary capacity. I shall remain indebted to the PM for giving me this opportunity," he tweeted after stepping down as the SAPM.

He added that while challenges in the energy sector were manifold, he had "no doubt that under the able leadership of Hammad Azhar, the MOE (Ministry of Energy) team will continue to stay the course on structural reforms".

After Gauhar resigned, the Cabinet Division issued a notification, saying that Prime Minister Imran Khan had accepted his resignation with effect from September 20.

Reacting to his resignation, Energy Minister Hammad Azhar said it was a "privilege" to have worked with Gauhar.

"We benefited greatly from his input and professionalism," the minister said, wishing the former SAPM the best of luck for his future.

Gauhar, a former managing director of K-Electric (KE) and a senior executive of troubled Abraaj Capital of Arif Naqvi, had replaced Shahzad Qasim as the SAPM on power in October last year.

He had resigned from the post in January this year, but his resignation had not been accepted.

At the time, informed sources had told Dawn that Gauhar had complained about his limited scope of work at a cabinet meeting during the course of discussions on reforms. An official had said Gauhar was fed up with interference in his workings and too many cooks in the pot and had complained that he did not know whom to report — Minister for Planning Asad Umar, then energy minister Omar Ayub, erstwhile SAPM on petroleum Nadeem Babar or the prime minister.

Gauhar’s high profile interviews among leading channels and newspapers — suggesting inclusion of KE-Shanghai deal through the China-Pakistan Eco­nomic Corridor and revival of Pakistan Electric Power Company had also perturbed some key players in the field, another official had said.

To top it all, Gauhar was reported to have come under pressure following an investigation report on oil crisis which blamed Byco Petro­leum of widespread wrongdoings and called for further investigations. Gauhar had wor­ked at Byco as the chairperson of its audit and human resource committees.

Later in March this year, he was given the additional charge of the premier's aide on petroleum, replacing Babar.

Last month, he had written a letter to Azhar, pointing out multiple challenges in the energy sector and urging that strategies be chalked out and "holistic and structural reforms" be made to address them.

Gauhar is also the founder and chairperson of Oasis Energy, a management consultancy firm in the power and energy sector. He has a first-class honours degree from King's College, London, and also an MBA degree from the Institute of Business Administration in Pakistan.

He had stepped down as director, chief executive officer, and chairperson of the KE board in 2015 after working at the organisation for over seven years.

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