For some reason, the simple matter of selecting Engro Elegny’s CEO Sheikh Imranul Haque as the Pakistan State Oil (PSO) managing director has become an enigma not just for people in the two companies but the entire petroleum industry.
Time and again new dates have been announced for when Haque takes charge of the 9th floor office at PSO House ever since the prime minister nominated him from among six candidates in early May.
He was supposed to take charge immediately but that could not happen as he had to serve a notice period at Engro. Then, it was said he would join later that month. After that, it was June 15 and then July 1.
Now, Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi says that Haque has actually started to manage PSO affairs from Monday. “He has started to help Shahid Islam (incumbent PSO Managing Director) in a shadow capacity. He’ll take over completely in few days,” he said, while speaking to The Express Tribune.
The minister had made the same statement a couple of days back but Haque has no intention of joining any time soon as he has not resigned from his current job, said Engro officials.
“Haque has a very long association with Engro. He is not going to spoil his relations by resigning abruptly. He has to serve the notice and complete the termination period,” said one of his close confidante.
Besides, Haque has to think about his severance package, he added. While Haque was not available to comment and officials at PSO were reluctant to give an official version, people close to the development are blaming Islam for the delay.
Islam, a chartered accountant who retired from Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) a couple of years ago, was appointed as acting managing director of PSO in January when government had dissolved the company’s board and fired key officials over petrol shortage.
In absence of directors, Islam technically has the powers of the board, which has to finalise Haque’s compensation and other benefits. As of July 6 those conditions have not been finalised, officials say.
He has also been instrumental in helping the government steer out of difficult situations like securing a deal with Gunvor for supply of LNG.
Haque’s appointment was also of particular concern to many. He comes from a private company, which has its fate closely linked to PSO.
Engro’s subsidiary, Elengy Terminal Pakistan Limited, inaugurated the country’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in March. Its purpose is only to operate the terminal whereas the government has designated PSO to arrange LNG shipments.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2015.
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