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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) annulled the single bench order and reinstated Arif Usmani and Zubair Soomro as president and chairman of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP).

A division bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Sardar Ejaz Ishaq Khan on Monday heard an Intra-Court Appeal (ICA) filed by the secretary Ministry of Finance challenging the single bench’s verdict.

Last year in June, a single bench of Justice Mohsin Akhter Kayani had directed the federal government to immediately remove the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) President, Arif Usmani, and board of directors (BoD) Chairman, Zubair Soomro.

The IHC bench had passed the judgment on the petitions moved by four citizens including Syed Jahangir, Javed Iqbal, Fazal Raheem, and Latif Qureshi.

In the ICA, secretary finance adopted that the impugned judgment is against the law on the subject and fact of the case; hence, not tenable in the eyes of the law and is thus, liable to be aside.

IHC orders removal of NBP President Arif Usmani

The ICA contended that the court has failed to examine, discuss and appreciate the objection regarding mala fides of the petitioners in filing the writ petition. It was humbly submitted that various similar petitions were systematically filed in High Court at Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi with mala fide intend to derail the technological and managerial changes introduced by the new management of NBP.

“The malicious intent of the Respondent No 1 (Abdul Latif Qureshi who filed the petition challenging the appointments) is further illuminated by the unexplained delay of 20 months before challenging the appointment indicating towards the fact that the petitioner had ulterior motives behind filing the petition,” it added.

It continued that the court has failed to examine, discuss and appreciate objection that the writ petition is hit by laches. The impugned judgment having not alluded to this crucial point relating to maintainability and ignoring the unexplained laches coupled with the malicious conduct of the respondent is liable to be set aside in accordance with the settled principles of law.

Therefore, the finance secretary had prayed to accept the appeal and the impugned judgment passed by the IHC single bench may be set aside.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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