ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Maritime Affairs on Tues­day expressed concern and dismay over the administrative crisis in the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC), triggered by the refusal of the former chairman to hand over charge to his successor, on the basis of a stay order.

The committee meeting, presided over by Senator Rubina Khalid, was informed that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had appointed Rear Admiral Jawad Ahmed as the chairman of the PNSC on August 5 and the new chairman went to the PNSC headquarters the same day to take charge. However, the former chairman of the state-owned entity, Mr Riz­wan Ahmed, refused to vacate the office on the grounds that he had obtained a stay order from the Sindh High Court.

The committee said that non-compliance with the prime minister’s order was a criminal offence, and the chairperson of the committee directed the Ministry of Maritime Affairs to take stern action against Mr Ahmed and curtail his financial and administrative powers.

The committee was informed by officials of the ministry that there were alleged misappropriation in the purchase of vessels in the PNSC.

Former chairman refuses to give charge to new head on grounds of court stay

In reply to queries, PNSC officials informed the committee that recently, on the instructions of the former chairman of PNSC, two vessels had been purchased for $42.75 million which were 14.5 years old and they could be further used only for the next 5.5 years.

Members of the committee expressed concern over the information given to the panel and sought further details of the matter from the officials concerned.

The chairperson directed the ministry concerned to initiate an inquiry into the issue and also refer the matter to the prime minister’s inspection commission.

Gwadar technical institute

The committee meeting also discussed problems related to Gwadar technical and vocational institute and Gwadar Port.

The Chairman of Gwadar Port Auth­o­rity, Naseer Khan Kashani, informed the panel about introduction of courses in the Pakistan-China Technical and Vocational Institute, Gwadar.

He said that meetings were being held with officials of Shandong Institute of Commerce and Technology (SICT) for an exchange programme to introduce more courses in the Gwadar institute.

The committee was also informed by Mr Kashani that meetings were being held with the Shandong Institute of Com­m­erce and Technology (SICT) to int­rod­u­­c­­­e commerce courses in the Pakistan-China Technical and Vocational Institute, Gwadar.

The chairperson of the committee encouraged the step and said that the objective of the vocational institute was to equip students with technical skills and efforts should be made to start courses at the institute at the earliest.

The committee was informed that PC-1 was under consideration for the acquisition of the remaining land for the Gwadar Port and it would be submitted to the Ministry of Planning and Development for approval shortly.

On the issue of Gwadar development projects to be developed under the PSDP, 2022-23, the secretary of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Mathar Niaz Rana, said there were a total of 16 PSDP projects. Of these projects, he said, 13 were related to Gwadar while the rest pertained to Korangi Fish Harbour.

Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2022

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