PESHAWAR: A senior officer of Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) has challenged the relevant board’s decision to appoint an acting chief executive officer of the company, claiming that the move was contrary to orders of the superior courts.

The chief engineer (operation) Pesco, Gul Nabi Syed, has filed a petition in the court challenging the Jan 25 decision taken by the company’s board of director to appoint a chief engineer (O&M) Distribution Pesco as acting chief executive officer.

The petitioner also seeks interim relief requesting that during pendency of the petition the impugned office order of Jan 25, 2024, may be suspended and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) may be stopped from giving NOC to the company to issue a notification for appointment of the acting CEO.

Interestingly, on Friday, a notification as issued by the director general (HR) Pesco, wherein it was mentioned that Akhtar Hamid Khan has been temporarily assigned the task to look after the post of CEO till appointment of permanent CEO from open market through advertisement.

Petitioner claims the move contrary to orders of superior courts

The petition filed through Advocates Ghulam Mohyuddin Malik and Mohammad Farooq Malik includes the federal secretary ministry of energy (power division), ECP through its secretary, Pesco’s BOD chairman, Pesco’s company secretary and Akhat Hamid Khan as respondents.

The petitioner, who has also earlier served as acting CEO of the company, had last year challenged his removal from the post and subsequent appointment of an acting CEO Engineer Arif Mahmood Sadozai, who was then serving as chief engineer Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco).

The petitioner had contended that the said appointment was on political grounds and illegal as appointment of an outsider as CEO of the Pesco would adversely affect its performance and reputation of its senior most engineers including the petitioner.

The petitioner stated that in the earlier petition the PHC had on June 1, 2023, declared the appointment of acting CEO as illegal and directed the federal government to positively appoint permanent officer on the post within two months in accordance with the relevant law and rules.

He stated that the PHC verdict was challenged in the Supreme Court by the government and the said acting CEO. He added that the apex court had rejected their pleas and upheld the high court judgment on Sept 7, 2023, and had directed the government to conclude the process of appointment of the CEO within six weeks.

The petitioner contended that in accordance with the order of the apex court an advertisement was issued on and process of scrutiny of candidates was started.

The petitioner stated that all the relevant agencies had cleared his name for appointment as the CEO of Pesco, but the authorities concerned referred to the Intelligence Bureau the matter for a second time.

He claimed that just to oust him from the process the said agency submitted a fictitious report against him upon which the respondents scrapped the whole process of appointment of the CEO on Dec 21, 2023.

He stated that in all other reports of other agencies he was found suitable candidate for the post out of the three shortlisted candidates, but he was victimised.

The petitioner claimed that the authorities then started maneuvering for appointment of a less experienced person (Akhtar Hamid) , who happened to be recently promoted to the post of chief engineer in 2023, as the acting CEO.

He contended that the superior courts had already declared that nobody could be appointed on the said post on temporary basis.

Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2024

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