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Appointment of retired official as GHPL MD challenged in IHC

A stakeholder of Government Holdings (Private) Limited (GHPL) challenged the appointment of 68 years old retired official as managing director and his demand for a salary of Rs 4.5 million per month in Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday.

A single-member bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah heard the case against a petition filed by Jamshed Mir and issued notices to principal secretary to the prime minister, secretaries petroleum, establishment division, chairmen Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and director general Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

The petitioner through his counsel Hashmat Ali Habib argued before the court that the government, on September 27, 2014, appointed Shahid Ismail as MD GHPL. His predecessor Arshad Nasir was drawing Rs 0.6 million salary per month. In addition to the said post, the federal government made Ismail Acting MD Pakistan State Oil (POS) after removal of Amjad Pervez Janjua in January 2015 due to the fuel crisis. The petition contended that instead of seeking Rs 0.6 million monthly salary, the incumbent MD GHPL sought more than seven-fold increase and moved a summary raising his salary to Rs 4.5 million and is now "pressurising directors on the Board of GHPL for approval of his unprecedented monthly high salary of about Rs 4.5 million excluding benefits."

The petitioner claimed that the appointment of Ismail was itself against the principles of merit and transparency as he did not hold relevant and valid experience to operate and manage a company like GHPL, adding the incumbent MD GHPL was also involved in cases pending with the NAB.

The petition further noted that Ismail retired from Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) 16 years back and could not fulfil the requirement of 'profound experience of oil and gas industry and infrastructure in Pakistan'. The petitioner requested the court to set aside the said appointment. IHC directed the abovementioned respondents to submit reply in a fortnight and adjourned the petition.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015