PESHAWAR: In a bid to give protection to management policies and recruitments in the Bank of Khyber (BoK), Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Finance Minister Muzaffar Said has ordered a halt to the implementation of decisions taken in a recent board meeting of the bank.
In the meeting held on June 24, the BoK board, chaired by Dr Hammad Uwais Agha, elected three nominees of private sector shareholders as new members. Agha is also serving as additional chief secretary of the K-P government.
Before the board of directors met, the finance minister had directed that the meeting should be put off. But his directive was ignored and the meeting was held, which not only elected the new members, but also increased perks and privileges of the bank’s managing director.
The new members - Maqsood Ismail Ahmad, Asad Muhammad Iqbal and Javed Akhtar - were elected unopposed. They were not present in the meeting and were represented by their nominees, said a press release issued by the BoK.
After the K-P government which holds around 70% shares in BoK, Ismail Industries, based in Karachi, is a major shareholder with a stake of around 24%. It acquired shares in the bank in 2007.
Though the influence of Ismail Industries in the bank’s affairs grew during the previous government, it has now reached the peak with three berths in the board.
It has got extensive powers to take decisions pertaining to the bank’s policies, management and recruitment including appointment of the managing director. Owing to this, employees of the bank are resisting the transfer of maximum powers to shareholders from the private sector. A number of K-P politicians and businessmen have also voiced their opposition.
Talking to The Express Tribune, K-P Finance Minister Muzaffar Said confirmed that an attempt had been made to stop the implementation of BoK board’s decision.
“Surrendering maximum powers to private shareholders is a controversial move; consultation in this respect is under way,” he said.
Scheduled and commercial banks as well as individual investors have the remaining 3% to 4% stake in the bank.
Maqsood Ismail is a brother of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf leader Imran Ismail whereas Asad Muhammad Iqbal is stated to be his close relative. Javed Akhtar, a textile industrialist and fashion designer, is a nominee of Maqsood Ismail.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2015.
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