ISLAMABAD .: The suspended president of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) challenged his suspension before the Islamabad High Court on Thursday.
Petitioner Saeed Ahmed through his counsel Faiz Rasool Jalbani challenged the federal cabinet’s notification of August 28 which suspended him on the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) request.
He made Principal Secretary to the prime minister, federal government through finance, cabinet division and establishment division secretaries, the State Bank of Pakistan and the NBP through its secretary board of directors’ respondents.
The case is fixed before IHC on Aug 31 (today).
In the petition, the counsel said that Ahmed’s appointment is contractual in essence and he has not beached any term/condition fixed by the government in view of the Section 11 (3) (a) of the Banks (Nationalization) Act, 1974.
Jalbani said that neither the petitioner has done nor has been alleged to have done the acts/omissions which may/might render him liable to removal in view of Sections 11 (3) (b) (c) and 11(12) of the banks’ 1974 act.
While referring to Fortescue J’s observation that “the laws of God and man, both give the party an opportunity to make its defence, if it has any”, Jalbani said that Ahmed has been condemned unheard.
He said Ahmed has never been summoned by the federal government for explaining his position and no show cause notice has ever been issued.
In addition, he said no charge has been framed by the department against him and no departmental proceedings are pending against him.
The petitioner has maintained that the notification is arbitrary, fanciful, whimsical, capricious and repugnant to the conscience. He has requested that the notification is not sustainable and liable to be set aside.
Ahmad is co-accused in a supplementary money laundering case with two other persons. The case has been filed in an accountability court.
NAB has filed the main reference against former finance minister Ishaq Dar.
However, the court has already exonerated Saeed Ahmad on charges of money-laundering but he continues to face allegations of aiding and abetting Dar in laundering the money.
NAB took the plea in letters written to the finance ministry that Ahmad could influence the ongoing investigations.
“The cabinet approved his removal as NBP president citing a pending case against him for his alleged involvement in money laundering of billion of rupees,” said Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry after the cabinet meeting.
Ahmad enjoys a long association with the former ruling family, spanning over four decades. In 2014, Ahmad was appointed as deputy governor of the central bank for two years.
In March 2017, the PML-N government appointed Ahmad as president for a period of almost 22 months.
Ahmad is over 69 years old and the SBP regulations bar appointment of chief executive officer of a commercial bank beyond 70 years of age.