Open letter: BoK staff asks Imran Khan to help end political interference

Threaten to hold sit-ins, strikes or shut down financial institution


Our Correspondent July 08, 2015
Employees of BoK threaten to hold sit-ins, strikes or shut down financial institution. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: Employees of Bank of Khyber (BoK) expressed their concerns over the uncertain future of the bank in a hand-written, four-page-long letter circulated in the media and among politicians. The letter was signed off as “from the employees”.

In the missive, the staff flayed Minister for Finance Muzaffar Said for his lack of leadership, praised former finance minister Sirajul Haq for promoting the bank and demanded Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan look into problems faced by the bank. Employees complained of growing interference by politicians and bureaucracy in its affairs, and urged relevant authorities to resolve the issue.

A bank’s sage

According to letter, a copy of which is available with The Express Tribune, employees blamed the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary and managing director of BoK for “fuelling unrest”. They accused both members of exhibiting bias and nepotism. The document also stated Said has not shown any effort in protecting interests of BoK and/or its staff members.

Anti-privatisation?

The signees appreciated the role previously played by Siraj, who promoted the bank and “saved it from being gifted to private shareholders”.

They requested the PTI supremo to look into the problems BoK was undergoing. If no action is taken, they said they would hold a “sit-in in front of his residence at Bani Gala, Islamabad until the matter is resolved”, protest in front of the K-P Assembly and “if all else fails, go on a strike and shut down the bank”.

What’s been going on

Since last few weeks, BoK has been embroiled in a controversy, on the surface over its shareholders and subsequently its leadership.  The finance minister and BoK board chairman Dr Hammad Owais Agha have engaged in a back and forth, with the former suspending a latter, who was then reinstated by the chief secretary.

Agha, who is also the additional chief secretary, chaired a meeting on June 25, 2015, declaring three representatives of a Karachi-based industrial firm as directors. Said opposed the decision and ordered removal of Agha from BoK, but Chief Secretary Amjad Ali Khan ordered Agha’s re-instatement as the chairman of BoK’s board of directors.

CM Pervez Khattak is leading a three-member committee to resolve this issue.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2015. 

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