An alleged nepotism-driven government appointment was put on hold on Wednesday, when the Islamabad High Court (IHC) suspended the appointment notification of a relative of the prime minister.
IHC Chief Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi suspended a notification on the appointment as Pak-China Investment Company Limited (PCICL) deputy managing director of Shahnawaz Mehmood, who is married to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf’s niece.
Petitioner Javed Mahmood, who is the incumbent PCICL deputy managing director, cited the finance secretary and Shahnawaz Mehmood as respondents in his petition challenging the appointment notification issued by the finance ministry on March 4.
Chief Justice Kasi issued notices to the finance secretary and Shahnawaz Mehmood seeking their replies on March 11. Advocate Zahir Bashir Ansari, the counsel for the petitioner, argued that his client was appointed on January 1, 2011 as deputy managing director for a period of three years, yet the government has issued a notification appointing a relative of the prime minister before his tenure had expired.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Advocate Ansari said that PCICL is a development finance institution formed through collaboration between the governments of Pakistan and China for the promotion of trade, investment and economic growth in Pakistan.
He said the finance ministry has illegally appointed a political figure. He claimed that his client has over 40 years experience in banking and was previously the chief executive of Hub Power Company Limited (HPCL), while Shahnawaz has no relevant experience and is not qualified for this post. He said his client was working with devotion and honesty but was being replaced prematurely. “It’s completely illegal that a person appointed for three years is being replaced by an incompetent person with political affiliations,” he added.
In December, the Supreme Court took suo motu notice of the PM using his discretionary powers to appoint his son-in-law, Raja Azeemul Haq to the post of World Bank executive director despite his lack of relevant experience. The case is pending in the SC.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2013.