KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday issued notices to the secretary of the aviation division, director general of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), public procurement regulatory authority (PPRA) and others on a petition impugning the evaluation criteria set to invite bids for the reconstruction of a runway at Karachi airport.

A two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh asked the respondents to file comments till Dec 9.

M/s Umar Jan and Company approached the SHC stating that the CAA had invited bids in September for the reconstruction of the runway at Jinnah International Airport and the petitioner had obtained the bidding documents. But it was shocked to read the evaluation criteria set in such a way that no capable Pakistani firm, including state-owned entities, would qualify for the project, it added.

The lawyer for the petitioner, Mukesh Kumar, argued that the respondents had set out discriminatory and ambiguous criteria in violation of Rule 32 of the PPRA.

He submitted that the CAA, without waiting for the decision of the written complaint filed by the petitioner under Rule 48 and without providing any right of hearing to the firm, was bent upon to award the subject contract to its favourite third party without adhering to the mandatory provisions of the law.

The petitioner pleaded to issue directives to the ministry to decide its grievance petition after providing proper opportunity of hearing and within the prescribed period, and till then further process of the procurement be suspended under Rule 48 (4) of the Public Procurement Rules 2004.

The counsel also asked the SHC to suspend the operation of the impugned letter issued on Nov 22, technically disqualifying the petitioner.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2022

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