PESHAWAR: Issuing a stay order, the Peshawar High Court on Thursday stopped the federal government from removing chief executive officer of the Peshawar Electric Supply Company Engineer Gul Nabi Syed and directed him to respond to a petition challenging a summary moved for his removal.
A bench consisting of Justice Musarrat Hilali and Justice Abdul Shakoor fixed Jan 26 for the next hearing into the petition asking directing the energy ministry (power division) to maintain status quo on the matter until them.
It issued the order after preliminary hearing into the petition of Mr Syed, who claimed that the federal government had moved a summary for installing a chief engineer of the Islamabad Electric Company (Iesco), Arif Mehmood Sadozai, belonging to Dera Ismail Khan, as the Pesco’s CEO on political grounds.
Also in the day, the energy ministry issued a notification “assigning Mr Sadozai to look after the charge of the Pesco chief executive officer as a stop-gap arrangement purely on a temporary basis with the immediate effect and until further orders.”
Gul Nabi claims summary moved against him on political grounds
In the petition, Mr Syed contended that the appointment of an “outsider” as the chief would adversely affect Pesco’s performance as well as the reputation of its senior most engineers, including him.
He added that in the past, a brother of Mr Sadozai was appointed as Pesco’s CEO at the behest of the head of a political party.
The petitioner requested the court to stop the respondents, including the federal government, permanently from removing the petitioner and appointing Mr Sadozai in his place.
He also prayed it to declare the proposed order of appointing Mr Sadozai as the Pesco chief unlawful and against the former’s right and position.
The respondents in the petition are the federal government through the energy secretary, director-general of the power division, director-general to the state minister for energy (power division), chairman of the Pesco’s board of directors, and Mr Sadozai.
Malik Ghulam Mohyuddin, lawyer for the petitioner, said his client was serving as Pesco’s chief engineer and was selected through tests and interview by the competent authority and was appointed as the Pesco’s CEO through a notification issued on Sep 6, 2022.
He said the petitioner took over the charge of his post by making an undertaking that he would increase recovery percentage above 95 percent and should reduce the line losses from 42 percent to 36 percent.
He said the petitioner addressed a letter on Oct 5 to the relevant section officer of power distribution companies of the federal government wherein he enumerated many difficulties in achieving the target of losses.
He contended that earlier from June 2018 to June 2022 the improvement in recovery of losses was less than one percent.
The counsel said after assuming charge the petitioner was busy in the post-flood disaster framework plan for recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction for the flood victims.
He argued that the petitioner tried his level best to make recoveries from defaulter consumers and succeeded to a great extent but could not make effective recoveries from government departments, including Rs1,154 outstanding against federal government departments, Rs2,452 against the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government departments and Rs22,403 million against government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The lawyer contended that the government with ulterior motives gave hardly three months’ time to the petitioner to do the needful and held him inefficient.
He referred to a performance comparative statement and insisted that the performance of his client was many times better than that of his predecessors.
Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2023
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